Dudley 'gives all' to land unexpected gold medal in Class Two long jump at GraceKennedy/ISSA Champs
Jamaica College's Paketo Dudley came into this year's Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Grace-Kennedy Boys and Girls' Athletic Championships with little expectations.
Dudley was hardly favoured to win, but he left the National Stadium yesterday evening as the Class Two champion in the long jump competition, after bettering the field with an impressive 7.21-metre performance.
The 16-year-old only recently lost to Wolmer's Boys' Dameon Creary at the Carifta Trials and wasn't too confident that he would be able to change the tide on his Heroes' Circle-based rival on the biggest stage.
Creary finished second with a 6.75m mark, with Calabar High's Daniel Bogle (6.71m) taking the bronze medal in front of an appreciative grandstand crowd.
An elated Creary admitted that he had his eyes on Creary, and was determined to give it his best shot.
"I really didn't expect to win, to be honest," Dudley told The Gleaner. "I knew that my main competition would be Creary, and I really didn't think I was going to beat him, but I just came out here and decided to give it my all, and I am happy with the result.
"I am very excited about this. He (Creary) beat me at Carifta Trials by four centimeters, and now I was able to come back and get the better of him, so this feels really good. I'm very surprised for the win, but extremely happy."
Dudley, who ironically lives just a stone's throw away from Wolmer's, shared that he focused a lot on improving his technique over the year, with special emphasis being placed on his run-up.
"I did a lot of work this year, I don't know exactly what went differently, but I know I worked hard for this and focused a lot on my run-up. But I am extremely happy that it has paid off," Dudley added.