Mario Burke is now regarded as the fastest schoolboy in the Caribbean and for him the feeling is unlike any other.
And given that it is something he wanted from his days at primary school, the feeling is even sweeter.
“I’ve been working very hard from primary school for this moment. Almost everyday sharpening up my speed my endurance, just for this day to come. I came out and won my two races and I am now regarded the fastest boy in the Caribbean. It makes me feel really proud that out of all the boys in the Caribbean I am the fastest,” the 18 year old said.
Mario told Barbados TODAY going into the Under 20 boys 100-metres, he was very confident, even though they were a lot of naysayers.
“I had a good feeling I would have won, but there were only four or five people in general who thought I could have won it. From the start I knew that I had it. I got a good stat so I knew I would have won,” he said proudly.
In preparing for CARIFTA, Mario, who also won the 200-metres race, said it was a lot of hard work, but it paid of in the end.
“I did a lot of speed and endurance work to maintain my top end speed just to make sure that I cross the line first,” he said, adding that he lives by the mantra, “Work hard, train harder and win easy.”
In this, his fourth CARIFTA appearance, Mario said he is not only proud of his individual performance, but that of the team and is thankful to have been a part of it.
“CARIFTA was a fun experience. I enjoyed spending time with everyone on the team and we got along well and we performed well also,” Mario added.
And the golden boy now has his sights set on the future, and bagging many more gold medals.
“Should be going to the Bahamas for the world relays in May. After that I have PANAM Juniors and CAC Juniors.”
And when that is over, Mario says it will be time for a celebration.
“I will definitely be doing something to celebrate but I’m not too sure what or when as yet,” the Harrisonian said.
Mario admitted that balancing school and athletics has been tough but he knows and understands what needs to be done, so he is doing it.
“School work is going good but I just have to try to work harder so I can do well in my exams,” he said.
He revealed that he will soon be heading off to the University of Houston to further his studies and he is nothing short of excited.
“I’m going off on a scholarship to university and I’m really looking forward to the experience, training and atmosphere. Will be continuing the sprints there for sure,” he said excitedly.
And Mario knows that he could not have made it this far alone, and took the time to thank all those who have assisted him thus far in his career.
“I would like to thank my grandmother, my mother, father, my entire family, my friends and coaches, trainers and God of course,” Mario said.