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    August 24

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Hill sets sights on 2024 Olympics

NIKHIL UTTAMCHANDANI,

Added 13 July 2019

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Zion Hill: “It has been a journey where I have learned a lot and I’m just grateful for it.” (GP)

CARIFTA Games 2018 under-20 boys’ javelin silver medallist Zion Hill hopes to throw at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Hill spoke to THE NATION in an interview reflecting on his past year at the University of North Texas, where he is on an athletics scholarship.

“The path for me has been unexpected, as I never thought I would be doing track and field at a university in the United States. It has been a journey where I have learned a lot and I’m just grateful for it. My aim is to go to an Olympics,” he said.

Hill explained that a friendly deal with comrade Triston Gibbons, who is a shot put and discus thrower at the University of Houston, was what led him to take javelin throwing seriously.

“When I was in Lower 6, Triston and I had a deal that if I threw 50 metres at the next BSSAC, [Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletic Championship] I would try out for the CARIFTA Games team.”

Hill went on to throw 55.68 metres at BSSAC and kept his word to Gibbons, throwing 63.12 metres at the 2018 CARIFA Games win a silver medal.

“It was a great feeling to get that medal because I am used to seeing it happen on TV so I never pictured myself to actually be up there and receive the medal. But it really felt great as I had the Barbadian support behind me.”

Hill was a freshman at the university this year and has enjoyed his first year at the school. He credited his success to current Lester Vaughan coach Samuel Skeete as well as Brendon Kelso who is the throwing coach at the University of North Texas.

“The 63 metre mark that he threw was a really good mark for someone his age, but to learn that he was only throwing for a year and had a fast bowling cricket background along with his size, I knew he would be a great athlete once we could change some of those cricket habits into javelin,” Kelso explained.

Hill had a cricket background, bowling medium pace for his former school, Harrison College. “I loved to play cricket but I needed to focus more on javelin and put most of my time in that and see where it took me,” Hill explained.

He described his first year at the school as a smooth process.

“It wasn’t a challenge for me to adapt to the new school, I settled into the environment pretty quickly,” Hill stated.

Hill was overjoyed by the encouragement in which he received from his Barbadian counterparts like Jonathan Jones, who is a freshman at the University of Texas, along with Gibbons and Mario Burke of the University of Houston.

Hill was eager to begin his second year at school and mentioned what could be expected of him in the future.

“You can expect to see me working hard, doing what I am supposed to be doing, breaking more records and making the national team more frequently.” (NU)

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