Bloomfield hoping for the best after World Champs selectionMonday, September 16, 2019
BY HOWARD WALKER
For a long time Akeem Bloomfield must have thought it was another deja vu moment, with him bitterly missing out on another World Championships spot as was the case in 2017.
At that point he described his injury-forced absence as the lowest point in his career.
Fast-forward two years and Bloomfield was in another predicament, with injury once again rearing its ugly head and hampering his effort in making Jamaica's team for the 200m.
The talented 21-year-old opted to run the 200m over his more successful 400m at Jamaica's National Championships and it backfired as he failed to qualify, clocking, by his standard, a pedestrian 20.81 seconds to place fifth in the final.
He gave the Jamaica Observer his thought process behind the decision to run the 200m instead of the 400m, in which he is the second-fastest Jamaican of all time with a personal best of 43.94 seconds.
“I opened my season with the 200m and I ran 20.24, which I think is the Olympic standard. So having opened my season with 20.24, my coach and I thought that was a very good opening that would lead to faster times,” said Bloomfield, who has a personal best of 19.81 seconds.
“But as the season progressed I got injured a lot. I got injured at the World Relays in the final and I couldn't compete in the 400m at the Diamond League in Shanghai.
“So going into 'Trials' basically the 200m was the only event that I ran. Went to the Racers Grand Prix, I ran 20.34 and basically beat some of the guys that [went on and] had the top spots at Trials. That [Racers] just gave me confidence going into Trials,” Bloomfield explained.
“However, before I ran the semi-finals I got a cramp in my calf while I was warming up. But I still tried to compete on it and ran 20.6 and barely made it to the final, and came back the next day and was unsuccessful in qualifying for the 200m,” he added.
Although disappointed, Bloomfield would turn his attention to the 400m on the circuit and won three of five races.
The former Kingston College and Arkansas star won in Italy on July 6 in 45.64, then followed that up on July 21 with a season's best 44.40 victory at the Muller Anniversary Games in London.
But with only one of the top three athletes in the 400m at the Trials having the qualifying mark for the World Championships of 45.30, the call for Bloomfield's inclusion grew louder, as he was seen as the only Jamaican capable of securing a medal in Doha.
Bloomfield then threw down the gauntlet to the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) when he won the Muller Grand Prix in Birmingham on August 18, and had well behind him Jamaica's National champion Demish Gaye and Nathon Allen.
The tall Bloomfield won in 45.05 with Gaye down in sixth with 45.64 and Allen eighth in 46.90, which virtually secured his inclusion.
He then finished third in Italy on August 27, and on September 6 in the Diamond League final he ran superbly for third in 44.67, after entering the straight with a slight lead over the American duo of Fred Kerley (44.46) and Michael Norman (44.26), who are favourites to strike gold in Doha.
Bloomfield's stocks have risen and he is now seen as a genuine medal contender, after the JAAA selected him, Demish Gaye and Rusheen McDonald as the trio that will represent Jamaica.
“During the Diamond League final I made a lot of mistakes and my coach and I sat down and realise those mistakes that I made. I led to about 350m and I faded the last 50m, so it's just now to work on all aspects of the race and try to piece everything together going into the Championships.
“I can say that it has given me a confidence boost. I don't want to make any predictions but I will be going there to give of my best and compete hard, and wherever the chips fall, they fall — but I hope to be on the podium. I hope it turns out to be a successful championship for me,” Bloomfield shared.
He continued: “Now that I am selected to do the 400m, I can say that I will be going there to do my best. I think it's an honour being selected and an honour to be able to wear the black, green and gold and represent Jamaica.
“It will be my first major championships so I can say that I am going there to give my all but also gain invaluable experience, and I just hope for the best, compete hard, compete smart, and see where the chips fall.”
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