Watson proves he is capable of running with 'big boys'Thursday, March 04, 2021
Antonio Watson was one of the most talked about athletes after the first staging of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Qualification Trials at National Stadium last Saturday.
The 19-year-old came out on top in the Men's 400m as he ran a personal best of 46.27s to win ahead of Racers athlete Anthony Cox, who was second in 46.35s and Akani Slater of Sprintec, who was third in 46.93s.
Running out of lane four, Watson got off to a good start and kept pace with the rest of the field on the back stretch. He was ahead based on the stagger with 200m to go and came off the final turn in the lead. He held his form and his composure to hold off a fast-finishing Cox in the final few meters to secure a well-deserved win, to begin his 2021 season.
The Petersfield High School student was the 2017 World Youth Champion at 400m in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has continued to develop in the event.
Watson's race strategy on Saturday was completely different from his usual style of running of late, but it proved quite effective in securing his first win against senior athletes.
“To me it was a well-run race. I went out there and tried to execute to suit coach and I came out with a personal best, so I'm feeling great,” Watson said in describing his performance.
Although admitting to favouring the 200m, the versatile athlete says that he runs whatever event his coach instructs him to do.
“I always go into the trials with high expectations and go out there and perform at a high standard. I always prefer the shorter event for some reason. If [coach] says go out there and do the 400m I will do just that,” he explained.
Like almost all the other athletes, Watson admitted to mental struggles during the lockdown, when there was no competition taking place.
“It's been a rough time. It's hard to stay focused during this period, even before the meets start. It was just a rough period.”
Despite those challenges, his new personal best will serve as great motivation for the rest of the season.
“It just proves that the hard work that I have been putting in throughout the pandemic is really paying off.
“As a junior athlete coming up the ranks, I always wanted to be able to go out there, face the big boys and to come out victorious. This proves to me that I have the capability to do just that.”
Watson is eyeing a spot on the Olympic team to Tokyo, Japan, and says he will be using last Saturday's performance as the motivation necessary to prepare to make the team.
— Dwayne Richards
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login