Herbert Morrison's Daley renews focus after narrow escape
Herbert Morrison Technical's Deandre Daley (right) pulls away from Jahiem Williams of Glenmuir High to win his section of the Class 1 boys' 100m event during the 38th staging of the Grace/STETHS Invitational track and field meet in Santa Cruz on Saturday. (Photo: Paul Reid)

SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — CARIFTA Games Boys' Under-20 100m champion Deandre Daley of Herbert Morrison Technical is expected to be one of the medal contenders in the Class 1 100m at the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association athletics championships in late March. But he can be excused if winning medals and running fast aren't at the top of his priority list.

Daley, who turns 18 in early February, had a close call a few weeks ago when he was a passenger in a motor car which was involved in a crash. The taxi in which he and teammate Andre Daley were travelling on their way to school was almost crushed by a truck, just outside of Hopewell, Hanover.

The young speedster, who ran the 100m and 400m at the 38th Grace/STETHS Invitational in Santa Cruz on Saturday, said he froze after the collision.

"The two vehicles collided and the truck almost fell on the car.

"I could not think; my mind was blank [and I] did not know what was going on. I just have to praise the Lord," he told the Jamaica Observer. "Now I know that I have a precious life," he added.

Daley said his competitive start to the season was pushed back because of issues related to a "hamstring strain". He added, "We are still working to get it better so I can run at the top level."

Daley, coached by Claude Grant, is no stranger to injuries as prior to last year's big season he had promised much but failed to deliver while being sidelined time and again by leg injuries.

"Since I am just coming back from injury [I] did not want to pressure it too much so it was just an easy run for me," he said after winning his section of the Class 1 Boys' 100m in 11.04 seconds (-2.3m/s).

He also ran his first competitive 400m, clocking 52.57 to win his section.

Daley, who was injured at the national junior championships last year and missed the World Under-20 championships after he had run his lifetime best 10.23 seconds to win the CARIFTA Games gold medal, would not be drawn into the conversation leading up to the high school championships, still several weeks away.

"I am just going to see what the season brings for me. I just hope to make gradual progress. I won't want to make any big calls [as I will] just see how things go," the Herbert Morrison athlete said.

When pressed on what time he thinks it will take to win the Champs gold medal, if all the contenders were fit and ready, he flashed a smile and said: "It might take a 10.1, a 10.00, even sub-10.00 seconds, who knows? We can't tell the future. But, I will be there. I won't ever count myself out."

Paul Reid

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