J'can Olympian guides Swedish prodigy

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer Senior Reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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FORMER Jamaican sprinter Judyth Kitson-Aberg has taken onto herself a Swedish husband. Importantly, too, she has assumed the responsibility of guiding one of the country's most promising athletes in 16-year-old Filip Sjovall.


Kitson-Aberg, who represented Jamaica in the 100 metres at the 2003 World Championship, was in Jamaica with the young athlete at the Queen's/Grace Jackson Meet at the National Stadium last Saturday.


"I went to Sweden to study for my masters and that's where I met Filip, the fastest 14 year-old, then I met his parents, by accident," Kitson-Aberg, who is pregnant, told the Observer after watching Sjovall compete in Kingston.


"I guess it was fate... we started to train together last year and since then I have been working on getting his strength up.


"He was running a bit uptight and if you look at his height, he is more of a 200m runner and I said, 'This is what I'm going to train him for'," said Kitson-Aberg, who won finished seventh in the 100m and eighth in the 200m at the 2003 Pan American Games.


However, she was to have better luck, capturing bronze in the 4x100m relays.


Meanwhile, Sjovall finished second in his heat in 23.42 seconds and Kitson-Aberg was pleased with his effort under testing conditions.


"To see him run really well, even though the Jamaican sun and the meet (timing) got to him, I think he did pretty well," she said.


"He is a very promising one," a doting Kitson-Aberg added. "I'll now work on his speed because the strength is there for the indoors and much of the outdoors".


Inadvertently, therefore, Kitson-Aberg is now among the list of in-demand Jamaican coaches overseas. But this wasn't part of her plans.


"Not really. For now, it's just one. I will start slow for now and if some school in Sweden... after seeing his performances, then I think I will do it with more than one. But for now, it is one," Kitson-Aberg emphasised.


Young Sjovall is here with his mother and coach and they are currently being assisted by the world famous MVP Club.


"We have been training with Mr (Stephen) Francis and his team has welcomed he and his mother, and that is good for us, and that is because of the relationship I had with Mr Francis before.


"I like his attitude, he is not afraid to take in somebody and help them, even for a week," Kitson-Aberg pointed out.


Meanwhile, the experience gained in Jamaica is invaluable to Filip as it allowed him to rub shoulders with some of the top athletes in the world at the MVP camp.


The tall Sjovall, who will be leaving the island soon, was extremely pleased with his 200m run and thought under better conditions he could have performed even better.


"I got a pretty good start and it felt good up until the home straight," he told the Observer as he tried to get his time after the race.


The young Swede, who has a personal best of 11.30 for 100, stopped the clock at 23.42 for the 200 in the searing heat, to which he is unaccustomed, along with the time between an over subscribed meet.


"Because the events here took so much time between the heats and the classes I warmed up like two hours too early and I was pretty tired going into the race, but I still kept my composure and I think I executed the race OK," he said.


"My coach invited me here and I have enjoyed it very much. I'm preparing for the indoor championships in Sweden where I will be running the 60m," he revealed.



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