Sensational Antonio Watson mulls doubleFriday, May 07, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Antonio Watson of Petersfield High, one of the most naturally gifted athletes of his generation, is hoping to close his Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships career on a high next week, but he was not sure whether he would run the 100m or the 400m, along with his favourite 200m.
Last week the former World Under-18 championships 400m gold medallist won the Class One boys' 100m/200m double at the County of Cornwall Athletics Association (COCAA) Western Championships at the St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth.
When he was asked which double he would be contesting at Champs, he told the Jamaica Observer that “my coach will decide that”. He was only included on the 100m and 200m lists on the ISSA ranking system.
A year ago the clash between Watson — who has already run 46.27 seconds for the 400m, faster than any other Jamaican schoolboy so far this year and Holmwood Technical's Bovel McPherson, the bronze medallist at the 2019 Pan American Under-20 Championships — was expected to be one of the top performers of the five-day championships.
Still, Watson insisted he only ran the 100m last week because his Coach Machell Woolery “thinks that I need it to help me get sharp for the first part of the 200m”.
His aim at Western Champs, Watson said, was just to win, but he lamented the empty stands with fans barred from attending sporting events out of a fear of the COVID-19 virus spreading.
“Running without supporters in the stands played a big part for me,” Watson said. “Normally that extra push that you get from the fans was not here today, so you had to run to the best of your ability,” he added.
He trailed in the 200m with about 60 metres to go, but put on a burst of speed to catch the field and win the race.
“That was not the race plan...the sun and humidity took a toll on me after the 100m and it took me a while to get into the race,” Watson noted.
He was still pleased with his day's effort that included running the second leg on the Petersfield High's 4x100m relay team that upset a strong STETHS team and also ran on the 4x400m team that finished second.
“It was a great performance I think, especially in the 100m. I knew that I could win, but I knew it would be hard anyways. It was a strange feeling at the start line, as you know its not something that I am used to and I had to get my head in the game to execute my race.”
However, he said he was not looking too far ahead as far as the 100m was concerned. “I am not thinking about it after high school, it is just for speed work right now,” Watson stated.
Asked his favourite event and it was not even close, he responded: “The 200m every day, all day. Its more of a combination and you have to have lots of speed and lots of endurance to be a good 200m runner.”
As for his next move after high school, Watson was keeping that close to his chest and said he was still weighing his options.
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