Stewart looks to the future
Kerron Stewart strikes the figure of a woman who is beginning to come to grips with her competitive realities.
The highs of her 2008 national championship title in the 100m as well as Olympic and World Championships medals in that same year and the one that followed have given way to less success on the international scene.
A few injuries later and a return to Jamaica, where she now trains with the Racers Track Club, have done little to return her to podium contention, and with eight Jamaicans already going faster than her in the 100m and five in the 200m, the 31-year-old admits that she will have some decisions to make soon.
She will first have to determine whether it is in her best interest to try and qualify for both the 100m and 200m at this month's National Senior Championships, and then she will decide when to call time on her professional career.
"I'm not sure. I'll just listen to my heart and to God. I might only run the 200m, I might only run the 100m, but it's really up to what happens when I talk to my coach and decide what I should focus on for trials," Stewart told The Gleaner. "Either way, it's going to be very tough to qualify, but I welcome the challenge.
"Retiring from competing is something we have to face. Track will always be a part of me, and as long as I'm alive I will always give back to track and field, and if it's just my knowledge, I'm comfortable with that," she said.
Stewart returned to the Golden Gala IAAF Diamond League meet in Rome's Olimpico Stadium yesterday to place second in the women's 200m with a time of 22.88 seconds - her best time this season - with the event's winner Jeneba Tarmoh (USA), crossing the line in 22.77, with fellow Jamaican Simone Facey taking third in 22.91.
Sherone Simpson was fifth in 22.94. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce withdrew from the event after suffering tightness in her hamstring during warm-up.
It's little surprise that Stewart's best time of the season came in the Eternal City.
In fact, prior to yesterday, the last time she ran below 23 seconds in the 200m came in 2008 - also in Rome - while the city was also the site of her fourth-fastest time in the event, 22.34 recorded in 2008.
"Rome always inspires me, perhaps it's because it's such a biblical place and I always run well here. To come out here and get a season best is good for me. It's a booster for me going into the trials," said Stewart.
"It's been an uphill battle for me. I've been getting sick a lot and have been battling a lot of stuff, so for me it's a victory to still come out and compete like I am, so it's never a negative for me as long as I can step on the track," Stewart added.