'I am extremely happy' - Wilson thrilled with Gaye's development
Demish Gaye is the hottest 'new' name on the Jamaican track and field scene after he recently joined the sub-45 seconds club, becoming the 21st Jamaican to run 44 seconds in the 400m.
Quite an achievement for a youngster, who two years ago was hardly even on the radar.
Coach Maurice Wilson says he is excited about the improvements shown and is hoping Gaye will take his form into the business end of the season after an ill-timed setback last season.
"I am extremely happy taking into consideration that two years ago nobody knew him and he came on the radar and I think he did fairly well in his first year at a high level in track and field," Wilson told Star Sports. "We were a little disappointed that he did not make the Olympic team but he was affected by injuries so I'm hoping that this year will be a better year for him and he has shown great early season form."
That is certainly true.
Gaye impressed as a member of Jamaica's third place finishing team at the IAAF World Relays in The Bahamas and was the standout performer at the last edition of the JAAA All Comers meet at the National Stadium, where he clocked 44.85 seconds.
The two-time national collegiate champion, who arrived under Wilson's guidance as a hopeful short sprinter, is fulfilling the potential his coach saw in the quarter-mile, and the GC Foster College student is now being primed to take his improvements on a bigger stage, with the World Championships in his crosshairs.
"After the Doha meet and I saw where three of the guys had run below 45 seconds. I felt that if he (Gaye) made the team he has to compete against these same guys so I asked him to give some effort so we could have an idea where he was at. I didn't expect him to run that fast ... he's in good shape but we have nine weeks to go to the trials and that's the aim," said Wilson who noted that he used a former quarter-miler of his to motivate his new charge.
"I have been lamenting that since Lansford Spence I have not had anyone with the talent and attitude for the 400m. I told him he wouldn't make it in the short sprint and that he should give it a chance and see what he can do in the 400m; maybe the Spence thing motivated him as well," said Wilson.
Gaye is the seventh fastest man in the 400m in the world so far this season.