World champion Antonio Watson gets heroes love from heartland
FALMOUTH, Trelawny — The loudest cheers were reserved for World Athletics Championships gold medallist in the 400m Antonio Watson during the Trelawny Municipal Corporation (TMC) and Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s Civic and Awards Ceremony held in the historic Water Square in Falmouth on Heroes’ Day.
Watson, who hails from the community of Scharsmidth Prospect, Duncans, in the parish, was one of the seven special awardees during the ceremony where 24 individuals were awarded in different categories. Watson was honoured in the category of sports.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer following the ceremony, the athlete assured residents of the parish that he will always do his best on the track.
“Just expect me doing my best at all times because only my best will be good enough, no matter the circumstances. And most definitely, expect more medals,” he said.
“It’s a great feeling to be recognised by my home parish, it’s just an amazing feeling,” he added.
The Trelawny native showed his track and field prowess from an early age while attending the Duncans Primary School in his community, which continued while he attended Petersfield High School in Westmoreland.
“Mr Antonio Watson, for your outstanding performance at the 2023 World Games in Budapest, Hungary, the people of Trelawny congratulates you… and may I say we have the full endorsement of the minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport, the Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange,” stated a part of the citation read to Watson read by Shakera Williams McNarrin, community programmes coordinator at the TMC.
“While other parishes may try to adopt you, Trelawny is proud to honour you as a son of the soil, whose mother is also here,” she added.
The 21-year-old Antonio Watson became the second Jamaican man to win the World Championships 400m gold medal after producing a spectacular last 60 metres at National Athletics Centre in Budapest, Hungary, winning with 44.22 seconds.
He joined Bertland Cameron, the first Jamaican to win the event 40 years ago at the first-ever staging of the event in Helsinki, Finland.
Watson’s gold-medal performance was unexpected — even after he ran a massive personal best 44.13 seconds in the semi-finals 24 hours earlier. With about 40 metres to go, it appeared he would have to settle for maybe a bronze.
He, however, dug deep into his reserves and chased and caught Great Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith who finished second with 44.31 seconds, with veteran American Quincy Hall third with a personal best 44.37 seconds.