Dogged Dawkins
St Jago athlete targets best in horizontal jumps
DAWKINS... the aim for this year is to top the long jump and triple jump at Champs and then go from therePhoto: Garfield Robinson

She may be shy in nature but when it comes to talking competition, and the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletic Championships, in particular, Jade-Ann Dawkins becomes loquacious.

When asked to describe her ambitions as a track and field athlete, the St Jago stalwart spoke with great seriousness, declaring that she wants to be one of the best in the horizontal jumps.

With that in mind, Dawkins knows how significant the annual five-day spectacle scheduled this year for March 28 to April 1 at the National Stadium is to her development, which explains her no-nonsense approach.

"My main goal is to become one of the best jumpers that ever existed. To do that, I will need to continue improving to win my events, and so the aim for this year is to top the long jump and triple jump at Champs and then go from there," Dawkins told the Jamaica Observer.

Last year, Dawkins fought gallantly to recover from a hamstring niggle to not only qualify for the much-anticipated championship, but also cop silver in both the Class 2 long and triple jumps with marks of 5.82m and 12.39m, respectively.

Those performances contributed to St Jago placing third in the girls' championship, behind Edwin Allen and Hydel.

During the injury, the 17-year-old recalled being trapped in her own mind, lacking motivation and almost ready to give up on her dream.

"It was a year where I had some good days and bad days. I had times where I had issues with my hamstring which was difficult for me to attend training and execute certain task.

"At one point, I had to learn how to be self-motivated, because there were times where I felt like I couldn't continue, but I had to dig deep and tell myself that I can do anything through hard work and commitment," she shared.

"It was then that I was able to bounce back and had a bright side where I still got the opportunity to compete at Champs where I came out with two medals and was able to contribute to my school's points," Dawkins added.

Though the hamstring isn't completely recovered, the second-year Class 2 athlete has already produced personal best leaps of 6.12m and 13.24m in both events, which she believes signals her readiness for battle.

"I'm looking forward to having a great season and I am very much pleased with how things have started out so far. I've already achieved multiple personal bests and I believe there are many more to come, including a record or both records," the towering jumper said with an air of confidence.

"Obviously, preparations have been difficult as usual, but as they say, if you want to be the best, you have to be willing to put in the work. So it has been nothing but a lot of hard work and persistence that continue to drive me," she noted.

To some it may seem like Dawkins' statements are nothing but false modesty or even pride, but she will readily tell you that it's a case of her body responding how she expects it to.

"Firstly, the injury is not as bad as it was last year, so that contributed to me working much harder and being able to do certain tasks to the best of my ability. So far, this year, I feel as if I am working to my full potential, which is good, but I am a firm believer in the fact that there's always room for improvement," Dawkins stated.

While not expected to add to their four titles won between 1996 and 1999, Dawkins is confident that the Keilando Goburn-coached Monk Street team will maintain a top five finish.

"We would love to win but, for now, I am confident that my school will be a part of the top five," she said.

BY SHERDON COWAN Staff reporter

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