Edward, Brathwaite, Henry to join several former Cougars at World Championships
Three members of the 2009 Barton Community College track team will join several former Cougars over the next several days at the 12th annual IAAF World Championships in Berlin. Alonso Edward, Ryan Brathwaite and Tabarie Henry – all Cougars in 2009 – will take part in the biggest international track meet of the season. They will be joined by 8 more former Cougars, once again giving Barton double digit representation at the event. Included in that list of former Cougars is the defending champion for the men in the 100m and 200m in Tyson Gay as well as defending 100m champion Veronica Campbell. The 10-day World Championships get underway Saturday and will run through the August 23.
Alonso Edward – 200m (Panama)
Edward recently showed he was ready to burst onto the national scene with a great series of meets in Europe in preparation for the meet back in June. During that time he clocked a 20.00 200m to give him the 4th fastest time in the world this year. Edward also qualified for the 100m but will not compete in that event, concentrating his efforts on the 200m.
In the 200m he will see plenty of runners familiar with the Barton campus as 3 of the top 5 times in the world this year have been posted by runners by Cougars. Defending World Champion Gay has the fastest time at 19.58 with Edwards 4th and Steve Mullings 5th with a 20.01.
For Edward, who will turn 20 on Wednesday, it will be his first exposure to one of track’s two biggest events – the World Championships and the Olympics. Edward has competed at 2008 Junior World Championships in Poland.
“I think the time in Europe really helped me get comfortable and gain some confidence,” Edward said.
Edward said he wants to run well and everything else will take care of itself.
“My goal is to make it to the finals and see what happens,” Edward said. “When you get to the finals anything can happen. So far this is the biggest race of my life.”
The 200m will not get run until Tuesday when the 1st round and quarterfinals will take place. The semifinals will be Wednesday with the finals set for Friday.
Ryan Brathwaite – 110m hurdles (Barbados)
Brathwaite will be making his 2nd appearance at the World Championships as well as competing during the 2008 Olympics. At the 2007 World Championships, Brathwaite made it to the semifinals, turning in a best time of 13.38. He did likewise at the Olympics, just missing a spot in the finals.
So far this year, he has clocked a time of 13.23, which is the 8th best in the world. He also went head-to-head with some of the best in the world in Europe to tune-up, going neck-and-neck with Dayron Robles of Cuba in one race. Robles is the defending Olympic Champion in 2008 and has the best time in the world this year Robles edged Brathwaite at the finish.
“That was the 3rd time we have run against each other and we have been neck-to-neck on each of them,” Brathwaite said. “So to me, that tells me I can beat him. It makes me feel happy to run with him but at the same time I’m a competitor and want to beat him.”
Brathwaite said his time at the last world championships and especially the 08 Olympics has given him a different outlook on the 2009 World Championships.
“At Beijing (08 Olympics) it was just a matter of trying to maintain focus,” Brathwaite said. “There were so many distractions and things that my goal was to maintain my focus and get to the semifinals.
“This year I am more prepared. I just want to get out there and show the world who I am. I want to make my country proud.”
Brathwaite will begin his quest for the finals and a possible medal the event with 1st round races on Wednesday. The semifinals and finals will take place Thursday.
Tabarie Henry – 400m (Virgin Islands)
It will be Henry’s 1st World Championships as well but Henry did take part in the 08 Olympics, making it to the semifinals. Earlier this year at the NJCAA Championships in Hutchinson, Henry went head-to-head in a classic duel with LaTroy Williams which resulted in the 3rd and 4th fastest times in the world. Henry clocked a 44.77 for the 4th best this year.
But in his warm ups in Europe, Henry, unlike his Barton teammates, didn’t run as expected and has taken the 3 weeks back in Great Bend to go back to the basics.
“Lately setting goals really hasn’t worked for me,” Henry said. “I didn’t run as well I wanted in Europe and I have just been trying to stop thinking about doing stuff and just running. I was worrying too much and changing too much on what I was doing each time I ran.
“I just want to go in with an open mind, focus, and let it happen. Right now it just seems too much like I am fighting myself to get the time I’m looking for. I just need to put my race back together. It’s frustrating and I just need to do what comes natural.”
Henry will run in the opening round of the 400m on Tuesday with semifinal action on Wednesday. The runners will get a day off before the finals conclude next Friday.
Gay and Campbell headline the list of former Cougars running at the World Championships and will be two of the main stories on the track this year as both coming in to the event.
Campbell established herself in 2004 as one of the best sprinters in the world with a Gold in the 200m and Bronze in the 100m at the Olympics for Jamaica. She has not let off the gas pedal since. In the 3 major events since that time – 2 world championships and an Olympics – Campbell has collected two more gold medals, two more silver medals. She won a 2nd gold at the Olympics in 2008 with her back-to-back win in the 200m to go along with the 100m in the 07 World Championships.
The women’s 100m will start Sunday with 1st round and quarterfinal races with the semifinals and finals Monday. The 200m will have two rounds Wednesday with semifinal action Thursday and the finals Friday. Campbell has clocked top 5 times in the world in each event this year.
Campbell will have a pair of former Cougars competing against her in the 200m in fellow Jamaican Simone Facey and Laverne Jones of the Virgin Islands. Facey will be making her 1st appearance at the World Championships. She has a top 20 time this year in the 200 but running as part of a strong Jamaican contingent will be expected to do well. Jones has been here before but is still looking for her 1st final. She ran the 100m and 200m in the 2008 Olympics and may do both this year as well. Jones has made the semifinals at the last 2 World Championships in the 200m and has clocked a career best time of 22.46 this year. That time is the 7th best in the world this year. Aleen Bailey will also be in the 4x100m relay pool for Jamaica.
Gay doubled up in 2007 for the United States and was the top sprinter in the world at the time. Now that title rest with Usain Bolt, whom Gay will be pursuing in an effort to reclaim that title. He has posted the best time in the world this year in the 100m (9.77) and 200m (19.58). His 9.77 he ran this year in the 100m equals a career best and the 19.58 is a career best in the 200m. The 100m will start Saturday with two rounds and finish Sunday with semifinals and finals. He will also be part of the United State’s 4x100m relay team.
Gay will be joined in the 200m by not just Mullings and Edward but Aaron Armstrog, who will run for Trinidad and Tobago. Mullings is having one of his best seasons and will be taking part in his first World Championships. He has run the 5th best time in the world this year in the 200m at 20.01 – a career best by far for the Jamaican. Armstrong – one of the oldest ex Cougars at the Championships graduating from Barton 10 years ago – is still making noise in the 200m. Armstrong ran in the 2008 Olympics as well as the 2005 World Championships. Both times he failed to make the semifinals.
Another veteran on the scene is Walter Davis, a 2000 graduate of Barton. Davis is still amongst the best triple jumpers in the world. He has walked away from the past 3 World Championships with a medal. At the most recent World Championships in 07, Davis won the bronze medal to follow up a gold he won in 2005 at Helsinki. He won his 1st medal in 2003, placing 2nd at the 9th annual event.
He is joined by Leevan Sands, who has also been one of the top triple jumpers in the world for several years. He won bronze at the 2008 Olympics and has medaled at the World Championships before, finishing 3rd in 2003 at Paris. He took 4th in 2005 at the World Championships, just missing out on a medal.
Check out Barton County Track Online at www.bartonccc.edu/sports