J'can hurdler Tapper wants to use life story to inspire other


J'can hurdler Tapper wants to use life story to inspire other

Observer writer

Friday, August 14, 2020

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She is one of the shortest women in international sprint hurdling — listed officially at 5'1” — but that has never made her feel daunted.

Megan Tapper, formerly Megan Simmonds, has represented Jamaica both as a junior and senior athlete and even as she continues to add pages to her personal story, she is ready to inspire others from the challenges that she has already faced on her journey.

Since 2016, she has represented the country at all major track and field meets, beginning with the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the World Championships in London, England in 2017; the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia, 2018; and again at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, 2019.

Blessed with having the opportunity to train with someone, who some say is the greatest female sprinter of all times, Tapper says that she always draws inspiration from Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

“I always keep in mind what Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce always says, 'What's for you, will always be for you, nothing or no one can change that'.”

Having been inspired, she now wants to inspire.

“I've always wanted to inspire the young, and especially the old. People who think that their current situations are permanent and there's no way out.

“I guess God took my want literally and decided to give me a fighting story, which I'm living right now,” said Tapper.

“Sometime ago I heard a sermon saying there's no way someone can tell you about a situation you're in, when they've never experienced it, or anything close to it. I'm going through my hardship, so when it's my time to tell my story and inspire, they'll know it comes from my own experience and not just some book I read,” she said.

Going through her own experiences have helped to shape the life she wants to have whenever she hangs up her spikes, sometime in the future.

“With all that being said, I intend to further my career in motivational speaking and maybe even dabble in some life-coaching.

“I have a few stories in my arsenal now, so don't be afraid to contact me via Instagram @Megstappedin for speaking engagements,” Tapper encouraged.

As for the here and now, Tapper is of the view that women's sprint hurdling in Jamaica is not only on the up, but will be in good hands for years to come, with a new wave of young sprinters expected to make a breakthrough in the next few years.

“It's absolutely brilliant for the future of sprint hurdling in Jamaica. The fact that we had three ladies in the 100m hurdles final in Doha [herself, bronze medallist Danielle Williams and Janeek Brown] was spectacular.

“And if you're wondering if the younger ones coming up are at all perturbed by our current speed and achievements, take a look at young Britany Anderson and Ackera Nugent who are making waves for themselves. No worries there,” Tapper insisted.

For those who believe that Jamaica's track and field may be on the decline, she had a short and simple message.

“Now, to all those who were saying Jamaican track and field is on the decline, I object, it's all the way up from here, in female sprint hurdling!” she said defiantly.

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