Waiting game a mental burden, admits sprinter Tapper

Sport

Waiting game a mental burden, admits sprinter Tapper

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Saturday, August 15, 2020

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“How could it not?” was the response from Megan Tapper when asked if the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic had had any sort of mental impact on her over the last few months.

Like all other professional athletes, Tapper has had to endure a torrid time mentally, as the globe went into lockdown in March and slowly but surely all sporting events became victims to the virus as they were cancelled one by one.

The cancellation of the Olympic Games has probably had the greatest far reaching impact on sport, as it spans so many athletic disciplines, and without a shadow of a doubt, has had a huge impact on the small island nation of Jamaica.

“Training without any idea of what could happen tomorrow, whether it's the opening up of everything, races galore or the country being completely locked down. Being unable to race for the whole season, yet hitting all the important milestones in training ...all that can play heavily with one's mind,” said a frustrated Tapper.

Despite the challengers, however, the Jamaican Olympian says she has the perfect supporting cast to make it through the toughest of times.

“I have the best people I know in my corner, to get and keep me at my best whatever that is yesterday, today, tomorrow.

“Shout out to Mathue, my husband, Phillip, my coach, and Greg, my mentor and a boat load of other people who look out for me on a daily. I appreciate you,” Tapper said.

Her husband Mathue, who also helps to prepare her, has also been impacted financially by the virus, but together their faith has been at the centre of their quest as they remain hopeful.

“At the beginning, Mathue lost income [as most high school coaches did], but we weren't concerned because we know we serve a bigger God who would never let us go wanting.

“Additionally, realising that I would need to fill a couple gaps, I've been reaching out to local and even some international brands with proposals for sponsorship, but unfortunately, I haven't gotten any success so far. I'm still hopeful though,” she noted.

“But for now, help from friends, family members and colleagues help keep the Tapper boat afloat,” Tapper added.

Knowing when you will have to compete at major events is often a mental challenge as the days tick by and it gets closer and closer. Not knowing is even worse, but the 26-year-old says she has a SMART approach to her training. SMART being, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound.

“[I prepare] just like how I would any other year. By setting SMART goals with checkpoints along the way. Reviewing and updating as the days, weeks and months go by,” Tapper says as she remains motivated.

Tapper has represented Jamaica over the last four years and those experiences have helped her to reach new heights in her way of thinking.

“I am blessed enough with a team who I know does and will do everything that's necessary for me to be the best Megan when it's time to do anything Olympics-related.

“The sky used to be the limit, but with God and all the lessons I've been learning, there's no longer a limit. It's all possible,” she shared.

With the Olympic Games postponed for an entire year, the 2016 national Champion says she will be ready when it's time to face the starters again, whenever that is.

“I've always been the underdog, because of my height and some might say unfortunate circumstances, but it's been said that when something big is cooking it takes a little bit longer than everything else.

“At the end of the day, execution at the right times is all that counts. It's my intention to be the best me I can be for the Olympic trials and then the Olympic Games, God's willing,” Tapper noted.

Everyone wants to stand at the top of the podium at the Olympic Games, but Tapper isn't in a rush and she is prepared to trust the process to get there.

“I mean, it would be fantastic to achieve the highest which would be to win, for myself, my team and my country, but the real goal is to get better and better and one day be the best,” she concluded.

Tapper has had some level of competition in recent weeks, participating at the Velocity Fest Track and Field meets held over the past few weeks.


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