Inexperienced Patterson eyeing history
Shahiede Patterson will venture into unknown territory when he travels to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the Olympic rowing qualifiers, which begins on March 4.
Patterson, who will compete in the men’s heavyweight single-scull event over three days, has never competed internationally in his over three years of rowing.
Nevertheless, he gives himself a good chance on this his first international outing, of making history by becoming the first Jamaican to qualify for the Olympics.
“This will be my first major competition. I have only competed in regattas here locally, so this will definitely be an experience for me,” he told The Gleaner.
“It will definitely be a learning experience, so this will be about learning for me. No matter the outcome, I will try to learn as much as I can,” he added. “The experience, I don’t really have, because I have only been rowing for just over three years and rowing professionally for less than that, but I think I have a very good chance, although it will be very hard.”
Patterson got involved in the sport after he started attending the Caribbean Maritime University in 2017 and joined the rowing club there. He then topped the national trials in 2019 to earn the right to travel to Brazil.
In order to achieve qualification, Patterson must finish in the top two positions.
However, information on other competitors has been difficult to come by, which makes it hard to assess the competition, and his chances, accurately.
“You don’t get information on persons that are qualifying. If I had the information I could compare it. So when I go there and see them perform, I will be better able to assess it from there,” he said.
Patterson took a year off from school to focus on his qualification efforts; however, both the qualifiers and the Olympics were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, he reconsidered and decided to complete the final year of his marine engineering studies. Despite the challenges of balancing training and studying, he said no effort will be spared, adding that he will do everything to ensure he is in the best possible condition to achieve his ambition in Brazil.
“I don’t know if things are going according to plan, as this is the first time I am doing it, but things have been going pretty good. The training has stepped up a lot, which makes me pretty tired, because I also have to be managing school,” Patterson said.
“I will have to put in everything to be there at the end. Everything (effort) has to be used up, but I am looking forward to that. It (qualification) will be pretty hard, but I will be ready,” he said.
Patterson, in January 2020, was in Texas, USA, preparing for the qualifiers, but returned home in April after the qualification event was postponed.