Mon | Oct 21, 2019

Dwyer sets sights on 200m medal

Published:Tuesday | September 24, 2019 | 12:28 AM

DOHA, Qatar:

Jamaica’s male sprinters may not evoke the kind of reverence they once commanded around the world, but national 200m champion Rasheed Dwyer is determined to show that there is still a pulse in Jamaican male sprinting.

A sub-20-seconds 200m sprinter in his day and no stranger to the medal podium himself, Dwyer feels a sense of responsibility here in Doha and is backing himself and his compatriots to come good at a World Championships where very little is expected of his cohort – even from the most optimistic of Jamaican athletics supporter.

“I most definitely (feel a sense of responsibility). I am just going out there to try and perform at my best, and I think if I put my best forward, I will definitely be on the podium,” Dwyer said yesterday.

CHAMPIONSHIP MEDALS

Dwyer, who started his senior international career at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, went on to not only win gold four years later in Glasgow and silver at the Pan Am Games in Toronto in 2015 but also play a part as Jamaica romped to gold in the 4x100m relay at the Beijing World Championships that same year, running a leg in the heats.

That relay team boasted Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, and Nesta Carter among the ranks – history makers and part of the very fabric of Jamaican male sprinting.

Dwyer is well aware that that level of foot speed cannot be called upon at this time but thinks that there is enough pace here to surprise a few people and make a real statement to the track and field world.

“I think we have a fair chance in the (male) sprints. Our sprinting is not up to par as it was before, when we had the great Usain Bolt and when Yohan (Blake) was in tip-top shape, but I saw him (Blake) in training, and he looks really good. I really think we have a fair chance here,” Dwyer stated.

Dwyer is expected to be joined by Blake and Tyquendo Tracey as Jamaica’s representatives in the 100m and by Blake and Andre Ewars in the 200m.

He reports that he has been preparing well for the championships and is looking forward to positive returns, especially in his pet event, the 200m, where he has registered a season’s best of 20.23, way off his personal best mark of 19.80 seconds set in 2015.

“I am really excited, and I am trying to recover as best as possible because I am getting a lot of work in, so I am trying to recover as best as possible and get to my peak performance at the championships,” Dwyer said.

“The 200m is my baby, so I am really looking forward to that, and I’m trying my best to execute a good race there and make it on the podium,” he added before assessing the competition.

“There is probably a one athlete who is above everyone else, and then everyone else is in the same range, so I think there are medals to be grabbed there,” Dwyer reasoned.

Ewars, with a time of 20.14 seconds, is the fastest Jamaican in the 200m so far this year.

With a couple of weeks left in the season, it’s the first time since 2003, when Usain Bolt topped the Jamaican list with 20.13, that a Jamaican has not gone sub-20 seconds in the 200m.

Meanwhile, Blake is the only Jamaican below 10 seconds in the 100m this year, with a 9.96-second clocking to his credit.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com