Champs 2018: I am a champion! - Stephens vows to fight despite injury setback
In early-season competition, Calabar's Michael Stephens looked the best male sprinter in the country, logging an impressive 10.32 seconds in negative wind conditions at an early season meet despite jogging the final 20 metres.
Since then, injury has stalled his progress, even forcing a withdrawal from the Carifta Trials.
However, the confident sprinter, while accepting that he is not in the best shape and pointing to Kingston College's Jevaughn Matherson as the favourite for the event, remains optimistic and is promising to give it his all and put on a show in his efforts to successfully defend his Class One 100 metres title this Friday at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.
"Injury has gotten the better of me, and I am not in the shape I wanted to be at this time. I am still hoping to do my best, and hopefully, my best will be good enough to win or to medal," Stephens told STAR Sports.
Despite his hamstring troubles, Stephens underlined his determination to push towards a win despite the setbacks.
"I missed a couple training sessions ,and I couldn't train the way I wanted to because whenever I tried to push myself, I aggravate the injury. I am a champion, and a champion knows how to win," said Stephens.
Stephens added that he was eagerly anticipating a showdown with Matherson in the 100 metres.
"Yes, I am looking forward to it. Earlier in the season, I was looking forward to that, but injury has really set me back, and I do not think I will be fit enough to challenge him. I think I will be in around 70 per cent shape but let's see what will happen," added Stephens. He also believes it will be a two-man race to the gold medal between himself and the KC flag-bearer.
"Once you are in a lane at the start, you have a chance, but I think the other athletes fear both of us,and I do see it as a two-man race."
Despite his own injury concerns, Stephens is very confident that Calabar will make it seven wins in a row at the Championships.
"We are a unified team, and we are confident of winning again, and come Friday night, I am asking my fans to be present as it will be an amazing night as I am going to give it all my best," Stephens added.