Barbadian sprinter Levi Cadogan says he has every intention of breaking Obadele Thompson’s 100m record set by the 2000 Olympic bronze medalist back in 1994 in El Paso.
Cadogan who placed fourth in the 100m dash at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon in a time of 10.39 seconds, arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport this afternoon very pleased with his performance.
“When I left Barbados I told a lot of people that I did not plan to make the finals or anything but it turned out to be a good race. I had three okay races and I cannot complain and at least by the end of the year I would like to break Obadele’s record and I am looking forward to getting there,” Cadogan said.
The 18-year-old became the youngest Barbadian athlete to go professional after being signed on by international brand Adidas earlier this year and also captured silver in the 100 metres dash at the CARIFTA Games in Martinique with a personal best of 10.25 seconds in the under-20 division. He told Barbados TODAY that he was working extremely hard and would like to break the record by the end of this year.
“I just want to work on my last ten metros because that is where I am lacking a lot but once I get that sorted out I should be okay,” the junior sprinter said.
Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley, and chairman of the National Sports Council Michael Powers were present at the airport to greet Cadogan and other athletes which included Tristan Evelyn, Rivaldo Leacock, Tia-Adana Belle, Michael Nicholls, Jarad Mason, Sada Williams and Shamar Rock who arrived just after 2 p.m. Akela Jones was not among them but was scheduled to arrive later tonight with the coach and manager of the team.
Lashley told reporters he believed Barbados’ athletes had a good coaching program in place but they needed more coaching to strengthen the areas they needed to improve on.
“I believe that of course we have a very good coaching program but I think that of course we need to focus a bit more on strengthening the athletes in the areas that I believe that they have to in order to compete. I believe our athletes also require more opportunities to compete not only in the region but internationally as well.”
Evelyn said her performance was not what she wanted to achieve but added she had gained lots of experience competing and would be looking forward to the Youth Olympics scheduled for August 16 to 28 in Nanjing, China.
“The performance was not what I wanted or what I wanted to achieve but I learned a lot and I am grateful for the experience. I will be putting in some training, getting some massages done and look forward to the Youth Olympics next month,” Evelyn said.
A smiling Evelyn shared the proud moment of witnessing her former Springer Memorial schoolmate Akela Jones going after her first World Championship gold medal in the long jump.
“I think it was her first jump and she went out there with her mind set on getting that gold and when it came to the last moment of her being the last person to jump, we all just jumped up and we could not wait for the National Anthem to be played. She is a really good athlete,” Evelyn said.
Leacock ran 52.16 in the 400m hurdles semi-finals and said it was a really great experience for him in Oregon. Like many of the athletes he has his eyes set on next month’s Youth Olympics.
Leacock, the youngest member on the team, said: “I feel great leading up to the Youth Olympics and I just have to go back to the drawing boards and do some more training.”
A few of the athletes spoke about the weather which they described as fair and for most of them it was a bit hard adjusting but said they would not use the weather as an excuse for their performances.
One such athlete was Jarad Mason who was new to the 400m hurdles event after switching from running the 800m just last month.
“I am not going to make any excuse for my performance and yes I am still new to the 400m hurdles event because I switched last month and I understand how it is being new to an event. So I will take my time, dig deep and more than likely I would be on the podium one day. I decided to switch because I was injured since 2011 and I lost fitness because I was not training as much as I should for the 800m. So this year I fixed my injury and I was only running 400 and my coach at Missouri State University said why not do the 400m hurdles because you have the strength and speed to do it and I believe in him,” the former Harrison College student said.