Junior stars reveal high hopes for World Championships

July 11, 2016
@Normal:Shanice Love
File Shaw
@Normal:Dejour Russell
@Normal:Shannon Kalawan
Christopher Taylor

The country's top young athletes will be seeking glory when they depart on Thursday to compete at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Under-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, from July 19-24.

The country will be hoping to surpass the haul of two years ago in Eugene, Oregon, where Jamaica earned six medals.

Jaheel Hyde, who won a gold medal in the 400-metre hurdles then, will start as a big favourite to defend his title. With a season and personal best of 48.81 seconds, he is the top seed and the only junior to go under 49 seconds this season.

Despite the withdrawal of national junior 400 metres champion Akeem Bloomfield of Kingston College, due to a hamstring injury, there were still good vibes in the training camp at the G.C. Foster College, which STAR Sports visited on Saturday.

Most athletes spoke about their expectations going into the Championships.

Christopher Taylor, a year ago, garnered gold at the World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia, and despite not yet in that form, Taylor is very optimistic going into the Championships.

"My expectation going to Poland is very high and I am very confident about doing well. Despite a long season, this has not affected me, and as long as I go out there mentally and physically prepared, I expect to do something special," he said.

Raheem Chambers said that his preparation is also going well.

"I am feeling great as the coaches have been working hard with us on the camp. Although I am listed at number nine on the IAAF top list, I am not worried about this. I will use this to motivate me and I am someone who always performs on the big day and I am looking forward to doing so once again," he said.

Dejour Russell, the youngest member of the team, was ultra-excited.

"Going into the trials, I was nervous, and I must say thanks to God that I have made it and I am going to make my fans proud. I have improved on my starts and I hope that will help me to get into the race early. I'll see where that takes me," he said.

Shannon Kalawan said she wanted to go out there and make the finals, then take it from there.

"I just want my fans to cheer me on and pray for me," she added.

Despite being the fastest Jamaican female, so far, in the 100 metres, Shaw finished a disappointed sixth at the National Championships and will only compete in the 4x100 metres.

"Training has been good so far as everyone has been co-operating. Not running the 100 metres, I am not disappointed as I am still young," she said.

Discus thrower Shanice Love intends to surpass her personal best 54.72 metres.

"Hopefully, that can take me to the finals and even among the medallists," she said.

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