Mullings ready to handle the pressureTuesday, August 17, 2021
Ralford Mullings heads to the World Athletics Under-20 Championships being staged in Nairobi, Kenya, with a lot of expectations on his shoulders.
He is the highest-ranked Jamaican athlete heading into the championships as he is currently listed second in his event at the Under-20 level.
A winner in the discus event at the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association(ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships in May for Kingston College, Mullings says he feels the pressure of being an ambassador for Jamaica, but intends to give it his best shot.
“It's a lot of pressure, because I'm carrying the nation, I am a brand ambassador for the nation, and I will compete to the best of my ability and, hopefully, I will come out with the win.”
The University of the West Indies student Kai Chang won gold for Jamaica at the last U-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, in 2018 and Mullings is hoping to fill the big boots left by his predecessor.
“I will be trying my best. I have been training for two years, so definitely I am just trying to compete to the best and retain the title [for Jamaica]. It would be a big achievement as a thrower, so that would be a big booster for me.”
He admitted to being spurred on by the presence of the three throwers — Fedrick Dacres, Chad Wright and Traves Smikle — who competed at the Olympic Games in Tokyo a few weeks ago, which is historic for Jamaica, and is aiming to become rivals with his idols in a few years' time.
“It has motivated me to train harder and hopefully beat those guys at the next Olympic Trials.”
Mullings has graduated from Kingston College and believes that the college to which he is headed in the United States will help to further his athletics dreams.
“I am going to Arizona State University, which, in my opinion, has the best throws programme right now. So hopefully I can be prepared for 2024.”
For Mullings, the Championships in Nairobi is a part of his overall plan to become a Jamaican Olympian in Paris in 2024.
— Dwayne Richards