Quarter-miler Bartley revels in Tokyo qualificationSunday, July 04, 2021
BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Karayme Bartley would not have been one of the first names written on the list for Jamaica's Olympic Games team to the Tokyo Games by most local pundits and track and field experts.
The Texas Tech sprinter returned to the island for the National Championships virtually unseen and unknown, but after his performance in the final of the men's 400m, he could well become a household name going forward.
Bartley had harboured thoughts of representing Jamaica at the Olympic Games all season, but in the 200m, not the 400m. However, a mid-season injury caused him to switch from the half-lap event to the one-lap race, and to very good effect.
Speaking after his third-place finish at the National Championships on Sunday, which effectively landed him on the plane to Tokyo, Bartley explained how is it that he ended up contesting the 400m at trials.
“Originally, I was coming here to run the 200m, but at the NCAA regionals, about month ago, I felt a slight pain. So, I decided to come and run the 400m, because I have been training for the 400m all year,” he said.
And as for qualifying for the Olympic Games at the first try, Bartley could not be happier.
“It feels great, considering it's my first official trials. First one, get one. I would like to get the qualifying mark, but still going, so I am glad for that.”
Bartley also credits the comforts of being back home in Jamaica for making the team.
“I haven't been home in three years, so you can only imagine what that is like. Being home with my mom, dad, siblings, getting some home-cooked meals, I think that had a lot to do with it. You can ask my coach. I was here and he said I just looked different. I felt like just being home made that big difference for me,” he suggested.
The now first-time Olympian, who ran 45.17s in the final, said that he developed his race strategy race by race to book his spot on the team.
“In the prelims we were just trying to figure out how to run the 400m again. We watch the video from the prelims and in the semis, he told me to go out like I was running the 200m but cut it off a little bit on the back stretch and pick it up again on the 150m.
“In the finals, he told me to just go with who was in front of me and luckily Demish was in front of me and he is a very fast starter, so I just run out, caught up to him, felt his pace and tried to execute and passed him somewhere in the straight.”
Bartley is excited to be representing the county for the first time and no less than at the highest level of the sport of athletics.
“I am glad, first time representing the national team, representing at the highest level, so I can't be more excited,” Bartley ended.
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