'Maas Sudden Death' ... The man who gave Omar McLeod his speed

September 23, 2016
Lastin McLeod of Coffee Piece in Clarendon, has passed his speed and trademark smile to his famous grandson Omar McLeod.
Lastin McLeod, popularly known as Sudden Death makes the daily trek along this track to his farm.
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Lovers of fresh, juicy, succulent sugar cane needn't look any further than Coffee Piece in Clarendon for a taste.

For only $1,500, you can purchase a bundle of this sweet sticks, positioned along the roadside, waiting to be collected by buyers from as far away as the island's capital city.

Coffee Piece is also the home of Lastin McLeod, grandfather of 110-metre hurdles gold medallist Omar McLeod.

Lastin boasts of being a speed merchant in his younger days and says that it is his genes that have been transferred to the Olympic Champion.

The sprightly elder is known throughout the community as 'Sudden Death'. That name had to do with speed as well.

"When I was young, I used to give them lengths (beat them at running); I could run faster than all me fren dem in running as a boy," Sudden Death told THE WEEKEND STAR last week.

The elder McLeod, who is the father of 16 children, including Omar's father, said he could not contain himself as he watched his grandson win gold at the recent Rio Olympic Games.

"When I saw Omar on the TV in the race, I said, 'galang bwoy, galang'! Yes man, that was a wonderful thing," McLeod said, smiling broadly during his recollections.

"When Omar was a little boy, he used to come look for me and we spend a lot of time together. I feel good when Omar win, I nearly fly off!" Sudden Death said, flashing a smile that seemed to have been replicated identically on his grandson's face.

 

NO MEDALS

 

Sudden Death, unlike Omar, was not able to rack up medal after medal and dominate at the top of his sport. He has, however, been a star performer in another field agriculture.

The senior citizen plants yam and some sweet sugar cane on his farm. He told THE WEEKEND STAR that farming is what he used to send his children to school.

So how did he get the name 'Sudden Death'?

He said one day he was riding a bicycle down a steep hill in another district and it was going so fast, he thought he would certainly crash, so he said to himself. "Dis a sudden death".

McLeod said when he stopped, he just heard people calling him by the name not realizing that they had heard him muttering the phrase. It has been his nickname ever since.

The affable senior stays fit by walking to and from his field every day. He proudly showed THE WEEKEND STAR the beautiful spot by the main road where blocks are packed up waiting for the construction of his new house.

But for now, he joins the rest of the community in anxious wait for Omar's return home.

barbara.ellington@gleanerjm.com

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