His coach says the indoor season is just for fun and training is not rigorous. But Renaldo (Skeets) Nehemiah, the University of Maryland's sophomore hurdler, now has set four world indoor records over the last three weekends and has not lost an indoor race since last January.
Nehemiah set his latest record, shaving a full 10th of a second off the 50-meter mark in 6.36 at the Edmonton Journal meet Saturday night. He now has set records this season at 50 yards, 50 meters, 55 meters and 60 yards.
"I calculated it," Maryland Coach Frank Costello said after the long journey back from the western Canadian city. "The record Saturday was the most incredible. If it had been 60 yards, it would have been awesome.
"I think I've gotten to the point where anything he does doesn't surprise me any longer. He's on a hot streak.There's no way he's ever going to go on and never lose again. But he's beaten every hurdler in the world at one time or another."
Costello said that Nehemiah has been training only three days a week during the indoor season.
"Indoor track I look on as fun," Costello added. "It's enjoyment, low pressure. We haven't even done extravagant workouts. It's just been minimal."
So why does Nehemiah do so well?
"You mean why is he so fast this year?" Costello said. "I'm not sure. He's much stronger. He's mastered the hurdles. Last year he was exploring He believes he's the best hurdler in the world. He's not conceited, just confident. He's out to prove it. He takes every race as a competitor." After the race at Edmonton, Nehemiah said winning, not setting records, was most important to him.
"What I like is being in the lime-light," he said, "and if breaking records keeps me there, that's great. I really don't care about records.I just love winning races."
As for his coach calling Saturday's record his most incredible, Nehemiah said, "When I get a good start out of the blocks like I did, I run like a madman and nobody can catch me."
Costello said Nehemiah may run in three meets this weekend -- Friday in the Millrose Games at New York, Saturday in Ottawa and Sunday in Montreal.The coach said all training this week will be aimed at the Millrose, where the distance is 60 yards.
Nehemiah had to share the spot-light with pole vaulter Dan Ripley, who cleared 18 feet, 5 3/4 inches, the best in indoor history, surpassing Mike Tully's 18-5 1/4 performance.
However, that record is being disputed, a senior official of the U.S. Amateure Athletic Union said yesterday.
Bob Hersh, AAU records committee chairman, said the mounts that held the crossbar were too flexible and acted as shock absorbers, keeping the bar up at times when it should have been knocked off.
He said Ripley, who held the world record two years ago before losing it to Tully, would not have attained the record height if the correct mounts had been used.
Ripley said that he knew before his final vault that Hersh objected to the mounts.
"I feel like I made the height," he said, adding if the record is disputed, "I feel I won't have the record cleanly."
Games organizer Ken Twigg said the pole vault set from last summer's Commonwealth Games would have been used, but it could not be fitted into the space allotted in the arena.
In the mile, Eamonn Coughlin turned his much-publicized confrontation with world indoor and outdoor record-holder John Walker into a cakewalk and a Canadian mile record 3:57.7.
Walker dropped to the back of the pack early and finished 65 yards back, in 4:06.86.