'I had the determination and mindset to win,' says decathlon champ JohnsonMonday, May 17, 2021
BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
The hardest and most gruelling event at the just-concluded Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships was the decathlon.
The multi-discipline event entails two consecutive days of competition in 10 disciplines to declare the winner.
The winner at this year's championships, Javain Johnson of Kingston College, began preparation for the event only last summer after being persuaded by his Coach Leaford Green that he could be good at it.
Originally a sprinter, Johnson began preparations in earnest despite the uncertainties surrounding the staging of Champs this year. At the end of the day, his reward was a first individual gold medal.
Johnson said that he navigated the event cautiously on the first day, knowing that he would make a push on day two when the events would suit him best.
“The first day was just to see where I'm at, because the first day was my weak events, but I came out and pulled off some events, scored big.”
At the end of day one, Johnson trailed eventual runner-up Dishaun Lamb of Calabar, but was able to pull off the victory on day two, as he excelled in his strong areas. Over the two days, Johnson won the 100m, shot put, javelin and the discus, while he finished second in the 110m hurdles, high jump and pole vault to finish with a total of 5,973 points.
“Second day were my events, so I just came out and dominated and came out with the victory. The 100m, the long jump, discus, shot put, javelin, pole vault are my strong areas,” he said.
One of the keys to victory was staying close to the leader and that came through doing better than expected on day one.
“I had a big PB [personal best] in the high jump. I know a lot of people weren't expecting that, so a lot of points came out of that,” he explained.
Having accepted the challenge laid down by his coaches and achieving ultimate success has made Johnson very happy.
“I am very happy because it's my first time doing it. The coach asked me in the summer if I wanted to take on the challenge and I came out victorious, so I am very happy.”
He also explained why he was able to win despite a relatively short preparation period.
“I had the determination and mindset to win,” he said.
“I sacrificed a lot. I had a lot of ups and downs, injuries all over my body, but the coaches put in the work and kept encouraging me, telling me that I am the man, so I came out and just proved it.”
Like many other athletes, Johnson struggled last year with the cancellation of Champs and the missed opportunities as a result.
“It was very difficult because some of the guys wanted to come to Champs, perform at the best and get scholarships to go overseas to do their best, so it was very hard. It was hard for me, too. I wanted to go out there and do my best as well, so it was very heartbreaking.”
With Champs 2021 now complete and even with one year of eligibility still remaining, Johnson is weighing up his options beyond high school.
“I have one more year, but I would like to get a scholarship now to go overseas to study,” he declared.
Johnson is the third KC athlete to win the decathlon in the last 10 years, following Darron Hunter in 2012 and Donovan Thames in 2018.
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