Sun | Feb 25, 2018

Thomas has no regrets about switching allegiance

Published:Thursday | June 23, 2016 | 12:00 AMRaymond Graham
Damion Thomas (centre) winning the Under-18 boys’ 110 metres hurdles ahead of Oquendo Bernard (left) and Brandon Bembridge from Excelsior High during the 2016 Carifta Trials at the National Stadium earlier this year.

AFTER a successful debut at this year's Carifta Games where he won the gold medal in the boys' Under-18 110 metres hurdles, 16-year-old Damion Thomas, who competes for Northeast High School in Florida, is comfortable with his choice to represent Jamaica.

Thomas booked his ticket to the World Junior Championships next month, with victory in the Under-20 event in 13.50 seconds, in a strong headwind of 3.2 metres per second.

Thomas qualified to run for the United States, as he was born there. However, his parents are Jamaicans, which also makes him eligible to represent the Caribbean nation. His mother, Dushane Thomas, is a former high jumper at St Jago High.

The young hurdler chose to represent his parents' homeland and got his Jamaican citizenship just before competing at the Carifta Trials in Jamaica in March.

He has no regrets about switching allegiance.

"For me it is an honour to represent Jamaica in the sports and when I did so at the Carifta Games it was a dream come true," he said.

Thomas became the youngest Jamaican ever to win the Under-20 110m hurdles at the National Junior Championships.




He had no difficulty competing among his more senior athletes at the Championships as it is the same height that is contested by high school athletes in the United States and his season and personal best of 13.42 seconds, done in April, sees him ranked at number three in the event on the IAAF World Juniors' Top list.

"Competing against the bigger boys I was not nervous, but was more excited and beating guys three or more years my senior feels great and going out there and beating guys three years my senior it is indeed a greater feeling and also knowing that I can compete at the next World Junior Championships it is a wonderful feeling," he continued.

Thomas stated that he was well received by the Jamaicans at Carifta and he is hoping for the same treatment when he goes to Poland.

"At Carifta, I was a little bit withdrawn at first, but I was well received by teammates and I am hoping for this wonderful relationship to continue as I look forward to competing against some of those same athletes I competed with in the United States and looking forward to medal for Jamaica."