High-flying Watson holds card close to chest
Roshawn Clarke (right), the second-place finisher, hugs winner Antonio Watson after the men's 400m B race final during the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium on Saturday, June 3, 2023. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

DESPITE clocking a massive personal best time in the 400 metres at the Racers Grand Prix on Saturday, versatile Jamaican athlete Antonio Watson says he is undecided whether he will be competing in the 200m or 400m at the National Athletics Championships in July.

Watson, 21, lit up the National Stadium on Saturday as he led from start to finish on his way to winning the men's 400m B race in 44.75 seconds. He shattered his previous best time of 45.78.

Watson was the 2017 World Under-18 400m champion and is well known for his exploits in the 200m in which he won a silver medal at the Youth Summer Olympic Games in 2018 in Argentina and a bronze medal at the NACAC Championships, which was held in 2021 in Costa Rica.

The former Petersfield High School standout, who is coached by Glen Mills, said he still has a lot of love for the 200m event, in which he has a personal best time 20.52.

"At 44.78 this could mean that I am sticking with 400 metres or getting me better for 200 metres," said Watson after the race.

"Only time will tell, because I am still young and I still have a lot of things to learn in both events so I am just working... to be a better athlete and a better person. People always say the one-lap event is my strongest event but I still have love for the 200 — but I am undecided at the moment," Watson stated.

He has now joined two other Jamaicans who have dipped below 45 seconds this season, with the others being Sean Bailey (44.43) and Zandrion Barnes (44.90).

He said his performance on Saturday is a massive confidence boost for his career.

"From the season started I have been on a high...and this will just keep me motivated and [push me to] continue to work hard as I move forward for the rest of the year," Watson said.

"The National Trials is a part of the games and so I am looking forward to it, and so I just have to go out there and do my best," he said.

Watson, who had his opponents on the backfoot from the start of the race, noted that he was happy with the way he ran the event.

"The execution was properly done, in my eyes, because I just followed my coach's instructions and go out there and do my best and so I am very elated with this time," he said.

Racers Grand Prix
BY ROBERT BAILEY Staff reporter robertb@jamaicaobserver.com

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