Sat | Dec 10, 2016

Hail Kim Collins

Published:Thursday | February 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Collins

The Kim Collins highlight reel runs longer than most. From bronze in the 1995 Carifta 100-metre finals to a world leading time of 6.47 seconds for 60 metres earlier this week, Collins is track's Old Man River. He just keeps rolling.

As things stand, the chances of him rolling into Rio for the 2016 Olympics are slim. In 2012, he was within days of competing in a fifth Olympics when an unsanctioned visit to his wife got him thrown off the St Kitts and Nevis team.

An ongoing dispute with his home authorities has kept Collins away from the 2013 World Championships, the 2014 World Indoors, and the Commonwealth Games.

 

a pity

 

It's a real pity. In between his Carifta bronze and this series of fast Indoor times, Collins put St Kitts and Nevis on the athletics map. In the 2000 Olympics, he made history by reaching the 100m final. A World Championship 200-metre bronze in 2001 paved the way for gold in the 100m at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and at the 2003 World Championships in Paris.

All those achievements were firsts for St Kitts and Nevis.

To prove all that was no 'buck up', he got back to the Olympic 100m final in 2004; and placed third, behind American Justin Gatlin and Jamaica's Michael Frater, in the 2005 World Championships.

He added to his long list of honours in 2011 with third place in the World Championship 100m final won by Jamaica's Yohan Blake. He wrapped up his sprinting there in Daegu with a dangerous second leg to help St Kitts and Nevis to third in the 4x100m.

Unless things change between himself and the St Kitts and Nevis authorities, Daegu will mark the end of an international career filled with firsts. Last year, he ran 9.96 seconds for 100 metres and his 2015 times over the Indoor 60 - 6.48, 6.48, 6.50 and now 6.47 seconds - have dazzled the experts.

Like Merlene Ottey, he is one of those rare birds who can run fast at a relatively advanced age. Perhaps he is lifting weights now, a form of exercise he once avoided.

The closest he's gotten to big championships is the 2014 International Association of Athletics Federations Continental Cup. There, he ran on the winning Americas 4x100m team. He even did a painful 4x400m cameo. Unaccustomed and perhaps unprepared for 400-metre running, he went out fast and suffered in the last 200 metres.

As a track fan, I can only hope the dispute will be resolved soon. It would be fabulous if this giant of Caribbean sprinting had a final shot at the big times. One more Kim Collins highlight wouldn't hurt.

n Hubert Lawrence has

scrutinised world athletics since 1980.