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MY LITTLE ATHLETE: Gifted athlete in fast lane

Lisa King

MY LITTLE ATHLETE: Gifted athlete in fast lane

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A RECENT INJURY may have set back the progress of one of the island’s up and coming male athletes, but with his father backing him all the way, great things are still expected of him in the future.
Fourteen-year-old Ramarco Thompson has been in the spotlight for his athletic prowess for some time, but what many people may not realize is that there is a great driving force behind him – his father Anthony.
Anthony Thompson is a parent who is there to praise his son when he does his best on the track and also to lend his support during the difficult times.
Ramarco is the defending champion in Under-13 and Under-15 Boys’ multi-events (heptathlon) at the Junior Central American And Caribbean Games (CAC) and he holds the Under-15 Boys’ 300 metres hurdles record at Barbados Secondary School Athletics Championships (BSSAC), also known as the Inter-School Sports.
However, two Sundays ago at the CARIFTA trials he sustained an injury to his hamstring, but his father assures that he is still going to put his best foot forward at Inter-School Sports and CARIFTA games.
“I think it comes down to qualifier events falling too close together.
“I don’t think that the CARIFTA trials should be that close to Inter-School Sports because it puts too much pressure on the kids to perform at the maximum for CARIFTA and then to perform for their schools. It is very demanding on the kids,” Anthony said.
Following his injury, Ramarco has been to the physiotherapist and doctor to work on the hamstring problem and get him up to scratch for BSSAC, but Anthony said that the doctor and physiotherapist are concerned about his workload for BSSAC.
Added to that, Anthony is concerned that the injury would have offset some goals Ramarco would have planned to go after, in terms of his times. However, his father Anthony, who is chauffeur, motivator and biggest fan, explained that it was a long road for Ramarco because he was yet young.
For Ramarco and Anthony the groundwork for his readiness for his meets comes through a five-day a week workout routine with Freedom Striders Track Club.  Anthony said that the alarm goes off at 4:30 in the morning and the two are on the ball from there.
The two reside in the rural district of Baxter’s, St Andrew, and Anthony explained that the schedule is very demanding because he is due to be on the job at the Soil Conservation Commission for 7 a.m. Therefore, he has to leave home at 5:30 a.m. to get Ramarco to track practice at the National Stadium or University of the West Indies for 6 a.m. and then make the trek back to St Andrew.
“We had to train on morning so that he would have the time to focus on his studies in the evening. That way he could capitalize because to train on evening and come home tired while still having work to be done was not the ideal situation.
“It is a bit demanding for me but it works out better for him and I don’t mind the sacrifice,”  Anthony said.
Anthony, who also plans his vacation around Ramarco’s track schedule said, “I support him in his endeavours because he is very dedicated. He gives 100 per cent in whatever he does. He is a very competitive child,” said Anthony.
He recalled that his son showed promise from the time he was three years old and attending St Andrew’s Primary. “He showed early signs of God-given talent and he is blessed in that aspect. From the time you let go Ramarco he was out of there – he was always fast on his feet,” Anthony said.
There is some athletics pedigree in Ramarco’s parents. Anthony himself represented his school in athletics while mother Tanya Phillips ran for Coleridge & Parry School and represented Barbados in the 100 and 200 metres.
Anthony was Ramarco’s coach in the early days at the primary school level but had to let the professionals take over.
Calling his son a very contented child who appreciates what those who support him have done, father Anthony said: “He believes that he has to do his best; he thinks that he has to deliver good results because of the sacrifices made for him.”