Dacres powers up for Olympic medal
With an Olympic team spot secured at the recent National Senior Championships, discus thrower Federick Dacres is focused on August 12. That's when the best throwers in the world will gather in Rio de Janeiro to earn the right to fight for the gold medal.
Dacres, the 2015 Pan-Am Games champion, is expecting a really good competition.
"Quite a few guys are over 65 (metres), so I think this is the biggest field where you have really good-quality guys because they're hitting 65, 66 on average," Dacres observed, just prior to a power-lifting session of training at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies.
His observation is on target as the 2016 performance list shows that 15 men have thrown the discus 66 metres or beyond.
He and his coach, Julian Robinson, are building up his strength and refining his technique as Rio approaches.
"We're trying to get our technique right and get my power up because I'm a bit low now," he revealed.
Robinson explained that a two-week training visit to Europe, where he worked out with 2008 Olympic medallist Gerd Kanter, left Dacres behind schedule.
"In those two weeks, he fell down because he was not able to continue training as we planned," the coach explained.
In addition, the former World Youth and World Junior champion wasn't able to maintain his diet while there.
"When he was in Europe, he wasn't able to eat as he should, so he lost weight," Robinson recounted.
However, Dacres' diet, strength, and technique are heading in the right direction now.
Both athlete and coach have learnt from last year's World Championship, where Dacres led the qualifying round. He placed seventh in the final due to insomnia. A plan is being hatched to resolve that issue in Rio.
"In training, I'm hitting good marks," he said with optimism. "So, hopefully, I'll continue straight through."
Asked if he could be the first Jamaican to win an Olympic medal in the throws, he said: "I'm a trying young man so I will definitely try."