Athletes ready to shine at YOG
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina:
They will be competing out of season but Jamaica's athletes are ready to give their best at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in athletics competition, which begins in Buenos Aries today.
A number of the country's representatives would have hit top form twice already this year - at Boys' and Girl's Champs and Carifta Games. Still, they have every bit of confidence.
"I feel good, I want it to give it all my best to win this event because it's my first and last so I'll give it all my best to win that gold medal for myself and my country," said Michali Everett, the fastest athlete in the team and only boys' 100m entrant.
The Jamaica College speedster has a PB of 10.42, second fastest among competitors here behind South Africa's Luke Davids, who appears out of class at 10.31.
He noted that he is not being in tip-top shape but expects to be there when time comes to face the starter.
"I'm about 80 per cent, (but) I think I'll be ready to go there (when the race starts) in 100 per cent shape," Everett expressed.
Excelsior High hurdler, Ackera Nugent, another top-two ranked athlete, noted a gap in readiness but said "Since I've been here the preparation has been going well."
A youngster with enormous potential, Nugent has recorded a personal best of 13.18 for the 100m hurdles, marginally off the 13.16 of Australian Sophia White, who comes here with the fastest time.
Long jumper Shacquille Lowe faces a field stacked with talent and says even though "I'm at 90-85 per cent, I cannot judge as yet until the qualifications, but I'll be ready"
His best leap is 7.51 metres, a top-10 mark and while listing "a Cuban, a German and a South African" as his main competitors, Lowe said: "My expectation is to get a medal."
EvaldoWhitehorne and Daniella Deer expect to do well in the 400 metres.}
Deer, who enters the girl's event with a PB 53.06, said: "I am here to do my best. I'm trying to get to the top, I want to win a gold medal."
Whitehorne also expects a top performance.
"It's a chance for me to prove I can be one of the best 400m chances in the world for the future," said Whitehorne, who has five athletes here ranked ahead of his fastest time, 47.15.
"I'm trying my best to improve my finishing in the last 70 metres, which I've been doing for a couple of months," he added. "I rate my chances to get a medal, nothing less than that."
His Calabar High schoolmate, Kimar Farquharson, is also hoping for a big run in the 800m, although he is not one of the fastest in the event.
"It does not matter what they run ... I just want them to prove it to me on the day," said Farquharson, whose PB is 1:49.26.