Camperdown’s Sullivan sends early season message at JC meet
IN the realm of sprint hurdling, where each stride and leap can define a career, 18-year-old Matthew Sullivan of Camperdown High School is making a resounding statement early in the season.
Sullivan opened his campaign at the Purewater/Jamaica College/R Danny Williams Meet at Ashenheim Stadium, winning the Class One Boys’ 110m hurdles in a personal best 13.70 seconds on Saturday.
This performance marked an improvement from his previous best time of 13.76 achieved in July last season, when he dealt with injuries.
“This has boosted my confidence a lot because last year wasn’t a good year for me as I was injured and only ran two races,” Sullivan said. “So to come out here and open up with a personal best, it is a really good feeling for me.”
A standout both on the track and in the classroom, Sullivan, a bright and diligent student juggling 11 subjects, is not just an athlete but a scholar. His commitment to excellence extends beyond the hurdles, reflecting a balance between academic rigour and athletic prowess.
Last year proved to be a formidable challenge for Sullivan, enduring setbacks due to his injuries and participating in only two races. However, his recent performance has not only ignited his confidence but has also set a positive tone for the season ahead.
“I am really pleased with the season’s opener; this is a really good way to start the year,” he said. “The plan is just to train, and keep disciplined, and just maintain my focus and take it one step at a time â€” and once I do this then everything will come together.”
Uncertain about the limits of his potential, Sullivan remains steadfast in his dedication, acknowledging the unpredictable nature of hurdling.
“I am not sure how fast I can go but I am going to continue to work hard and train hard and see how it goes because with the hurdles, anything can happen in a race,” he said.
Sullivan’s coach, Okeile Stewart, sees in him the potential to dominate the hurdles event, confidently asserting that, once injury-free, his charge could emerge as the number one athlete in the discipline this year. He also describes Sullivan as a humble and hard-working youth, emphasising the importance of maintaining his health and fitness throughout the season.
“We try not to put times on people but the aim is to be number one. And whatever it takes to be number one, we will try our best to ensure that he is in good shape because this is his final year and we would love for him to be the champion,” Stewart said.
“I believe that he is as good as anybody in the line-up this year and anybody who would have won last year [at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships]. The hope is to ensure that he is healthy and in decent shape when the time comes.”