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Star lauds Bajan athletics

Justin Marville

Star lauds Bajan athletics

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So says multi Olympic silver medallist and World Champion sprinter Frankie Fredericks about Barbados expecting local athletics to continually produce athletes of the calibre of Ryan Brathwaite and Obadele Thompson.
The former Namibian top-rated sprinter expressed the sentiments after delivering the feature address during Saturday night’s National Sports Awards Ceremony at the Frank Collymore Hall.
“I don’t think you need to change anything,” Fredericks said concerning the local track and field setup.
“You already have eight athletes qualifying for the World Championships coming from 250 000 people so I think whatever you’re doing keep doing it.
“Once in a while you’ll find a talent like Ryan or like Oba and then one of these kids will take it through but don’t be too greedy,” he added.
A World Champion in the 200 metres at the 1993 Stuttgart Games, the 43-year-old member of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) executive board dispelled the widespread notion that local athletics was in trouble after an ordinary CARIFTA Games showing last year.
Furthermore, Fredericks expects future greatness from Barbados athletes after having a first-hand view of this weekend’s Joseph Payne Memorial Classic, while learning of the exploits of Springer sensations Akela Jones and Tristan Evelyn.
“Today [Saturday] I was really impressed [after] I went to the Stadium and saw the youngsters at such a young age running with perfect form,” said Fredericks about the athletes at the Classic.
“Tonight I heard about a 12-year-old with a 24.97 [clocking in the 200 metres] and that is impressive. I also met Akela [Jones] and if you continue like that then the sky’s the limit in athletics for Barbados.
“Be patient, it takes years and I think what you’re doing here is working. I think having a structure like this and probably having a school system and a programme is incredible.”
At the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Fredericks became Namibia’s only Olympic medallist when he crossed the line second in both the 100 and 200 metres sprints.
Fredericks then repeated that feat at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, before eventually retiring at the Athens Games four years later following a fourth-place finish in the 200 metres final.