Mills backs Seville to manage added pressure after blistering time

With his charge Oblique Seville raising expectations and hopes around Jamaica’s male sprinting prospects, Coach Glen Mills is confident that the young sprinter will be able to shoulder the added pressure and has pointed to his attitude and fearlessness as main factors in his burgeoning success.

Seville heads into next week’s National Senior Championships, which will help to select Jamaica’s team for the World Athletics Championships, as the favourite for the 100m title, after adding an early exclamation mark to an impressive season with a blistering 9.86 seconds clocking.

Up to yesterday, the time, which was recorded at the JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series on May 21 at the National Stadium, ranks as the second-fastest this season behind Ferdinand Omanyala’s (Kenya) 9.85, which was done earlier in May.

“They say experience teaches much and teaches it sharply. This is a new experience for him and the preparation is geared to help him to deal with it. But we’ll never really know until he actually commands the pressure or is fully in it, but I know that he will be well equipped to deal with it at a level that will be successful,” Mills told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.

“The good thing is that we have been here before. We have had several outstanding youngsters who have done well while at Racers and we know what the demands are locally and internationally. I try to do my best to groom them and those that listen have done exceptionally well. I’m certain that once young Seville stays within the programme and listens and follows, he will be able to cope with the pressures locally and internationally,” Mills said.

Seville now sits sixth in the all-time national performance list but Mills made it clear that the sprinter will be kept grounded, adding that the programme is being developed to ensure that he is conditioned for a long and successful career.

“What I have tried to do is to keep him focused on each step, each rung of the ladder. So right now, we are focused on the Trials. Of course, the preparation is not geared for the Trials as the end product, the World Championship is a major aspect but also in preparing him, I’m looking at a career.

“So what we are doing now, although the World Championship is a major thing, for him in this stage of his career, it’s a step because we are building and I’m looking at a career where he could be the best in the world. That is the global picture that we are looking at,” Mills said.

“If he goes to the World Championship and succeeds by achieving a medal, that would be great as a part of the career-building, but it would not be a major disappointment if that does not happen. So what I’m hoping for though, is that the experience at the World Championship will build a foundation that at future meets at that level, he would be ready to then capitalise on what he has,” Mills added.

Seville, 21, represented Jamaica at the Tokyo Olympic Games, finishing fourth in the 100m semi-final and also forming part of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team that ran fourth in the final, in his first senior championships appearance.

The coach underlined Seville’s attitude towards training and competition as a major factor in his improvements and in those areas, subtly likened him to his former athlete, retired great Usain Bolt.

“He’s always keen to know if he’s getting it right and sometimes when I might not even respond, I can always look for him coming to say ‘coach, what do you think about that one? Did I get it right?’ He takes it very; I wouldn’t say personal but it is important to him to know,” said Mills.

“So if I don’t have something to say, you can see the disappointment. So you know, I’m always on my P’s and Q’s but he’s dedicated, he is hungry for success. He wants to do well. He has the majority of the key ingredients that are needed for success and one of the most important is that he is not afraid of competing.

“His appetite for competition is fearless and he is eager to compete and that’s very important to sprinting and for athletes not to be afraid of competition but to embrace competition as a major part of what you do because everything that you’re trained for is to compete, and I’m very happy with that aspect of it. I’ve had one like that before and I am happy to have another with that kind of attitude,” Mills chuckled.

If he makes the team, Seville is not expected to feature on the international circuit before the World Championships with Mills preferring to fine-tune his technique ahead of the summer’s big assignment.

Jamaica’s Oblique Seville glances at the clock after crossing the line to win the men’s 100m in 9.86s at the Jubilee Series meet at the National Stadium on Saturday, May 21, 2022. Also pictured are Conroy Jones (partially obscured) who was second in 10.14 seconds ahead of Emanuel Archibald (left) third in 10.20s, and Micheal Campbell fifth in 10.26. (Photos: Observer file)
MILLS...what I have tried to do is to keep him focused on each step, each rung of the ladder

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