MINZIE DESERVES RESPECT — Coach Dennis
ON February 24 in an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer, Bog Walk High School's coach Donovan Dennis had predicted that his charge, Jevaughn Minzie, would run 10.1 seconds at Champs.
Many scoffed at and ridiculed his remarks, but a month and four days later, he is now looking like a genius.
"I know a lot of people were surprised," said Dennis, who witnessed Minzie speed to 10.16 seconds at Champs, easily going below the previous record of 10.21 seconds held by Yohan Blake.
However, Dennis, who has been at the school since 2003, believed Minzie could have gone faster had he run a better race which could have taken him below 10.1 seconds.
"I thought he was in his drive phase for too long and in the last couple metres there were little flaws that can by corrected, and I hope by Carifta Games, all of that will come into one," said Dennis, a former Jamaica College athlete.
Despite becoming the fastest Jamaican schoolboy at Champs, Minzie was beaten into second spot by Kingston College's Zharnel Hughes from the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla, with a population of approximately 17,000. Hughes, training with Racers Track Club, ran a jaw-dropping 10.12 seconds to edge Minzie in a fierce battle to the line.
"It's a good feeling because a lot of work was put in. A lot of time and sacrifice and I don't think a lot of persons give him the respect that he should get, especially since he has been making national teams since he was 16," Dennis argued.
"They don't put him in the light of other athletes who have been doing well. As a final year athlete we really went out a lot to ensure that."
Minzie, who went on to capture the Class One 200m in 20.50 seconds, had behind him World Youth 400m champion Martin Manley of St Jago with 20.73, as well as the World Youth 200m champion Michael O'Hara of Calabar in third with 20.86.
The talented Minzie earned 16 of the 23 points his school garnered at Champs, propelling them to 14th in the boys' section.
"He is an athlete who is not from a traditional high school like Todd (Odail) and Murphy (Jazeel) and this will send a signal to the rest of the upgraded high schools. GC Foster has been doing a lot of work with coaches and most of us are doing well, as coaches of non-traditional high schools," continued Dennis, who has a degree in physical education from GC Foster College.
"I always do a lot of research to see where I can improve my athletes. I cannot win girls' or boys' champs, so I purposefully design my programme where my athletes can top at Carifta or World Juniors, that would say a lot for my institution."
Dennis, who also had under his tutelage one Riker Hylton, said he is a behind-the-scenes coach, who does his thing calmly and with humility.
If Dennis's word is anything to go by, then fans can expect Minzie to go even faster as his preparations are geared towards the