Holmwood's quarater-miler Bovel shifts focus from track to academics


Holmwood's quarater-miler Bovel shifts focus from track to academics

Observer writer

Friday, April 03, 2020

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Despite being denied his chance to win his first-ever individual medal at the ISSA Boys' and Girls' Championships after the annual five-day event was cancelled, Holmwood Technical's Bovel McPherson says the decision was the correct one.

The Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), on the advice of the Ministry of Heath and Wellness, cancelled the highly anticipated event on March 11, two weeks before it was due to start out of concerns with the COVID19 pandemic.

McPherson — the Pan-American Under-20 Championships 400m bronze medal winner in San Jose, Costa Rica. last year — was the odds-on favourite to win the boys' Class One gold medal in his final season.

The gold medal, he had told the Jamaica Observer earlier in the year, would make up for his disqualification in the semi-finals last year after a false start.

“Yes, I totally agree on the cancellation of the championship because it's more about the athletes' health,” he said.

But he admitted, in the same breath, that not being able to perform this year has an impact.

“Well, it had an effect because I was planning on getting on the podium for the first time in an individual event,” McPherson said.

After missing out on making the team to CARIFTA Games last year and being disqualified at Champs, McPherson got some measure of revenge later in the year, when he won the Pan-American Games Under-20 bronze medal and was part of the 4x400m relay team that smashed a 17-year-old record with a new time of 3:00.99 minutes for the silver medal behind the USA.

After placing second in the final of the Under-20 400m at the JAAA Trials last year, running a then personal best 47.12 seconds behind Anthony Cox, McPherson finished the season on a high with two new lifetime bests of 46.16 seconds in the semi-finals and then 45.97 in the final.

His time was the third best by a Jamaican under 20 years old last year and 11th best in the world.

He had promised “big things” after winning the 400m Open at the Milo Western Relays at GC Foster in February and was targetting a sub 45-second run at Champs before the late cancellation of the event.

McPherson, who was part of the Holmwood Technical 4x400m team that took the bronze at Champs last year, has already shifted his focus from track and field.

“Well, since I've stopped training, so even if meets are being organised I don't think I we'll be taking part in any, now; I'm focusing on academics and preparing for CSEC that I will be taking in July,” he said.

Not even the World Under 20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, which has been postponed, could get him to shift his focus right now.

“Well, it isn't a problem for the push back of the meet, but as I said before, the athletes' health comes first and if the (Championships) are being held later in the year I'm not sure about participating in them,” McPherson noted.

The Central Champs winner, who also has a 46.59 seconds season best and who has attracted interest from US colleges, says the highlight of his season so far is his consistency:running fast at the respective meets.

His next big decision will be choosing which school to attend next year and with “four serious offers”, he says his academics was the priority.

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