Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Sinclair beats off adversity in race to Rio

Published:Thursday | August 4, 2016 | 8:00 AM
Kenia Sinclair runs at the country's pre-Games training camp at a naval base in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:

IT HAS been five years and a long road back since her last appearance at a major championship, but veteran 800m athlete, Kenia Sinclair, is eager to underline her return to the track with a strong Rio 2016 performance.

Sinclair, a two-time Olympic Games qualifier, having made the trip to the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games, suffered disappointment four years ago when a herniated disc and other related problems ruled her out of the London event.

Injuries from a car accident shortly afterwards and a series of setbacks during her recovery attempt, eventually forced her to give the sport a break. But as she told The Gleaner, she always reminded herself that her business with the Olympics was not done.

"I am just excited to be back on the team representing my country and to be competing at my third Olympics. It's just pure excitement after being away form the sport for so long, and to come back and my first competition being the Olympic Games, it's an honour to be selected to the Jamaican team," Sinclair said.

"It's been a real struggle, but I stay positive, I knew my long-term goal was to be on this team to the 2016 Olympic Games, so I just stayed focused. There were days when I felt I couldn't do it, but I kept the belief in myself, and that belief is a big reason I am here," she added.

Sinclair, who has been gaining coaching experience as a volunteer assistant coach at the Grand Canyon University in Arizona, says she is just looking to give it her best shot in Rio.

ONE HUNDRED PER CENT

"My expectation in competition is always high, but I stay within my limit, and for me, I told someone a few days ago that when I put on my Jamaican gear, I give it 100 per cent. I have been away from the sport for so long, but I still trust and know that all things are possible. Whatever my best gives me will be what I deserve," Sinclair noted.

Continuing, she said: "My season isn't as strong as I expected, but I am honoured to have made the team. I haven't gone sub-two minutes as yet, but I am hoping that I will hit that mark here."

Sinclair, who celebrated her 36th birthday a few weeks ago, will have some Jamaican company in the 800m in Simoya Campbell and Natoya Goule.

"Being on the team for 12 years plus and to have three of us going to the Call Room before our event is something I have always wanted to experience," Sinclair said.

"I'm glad that I was able to play a leading role for Jamaican middle-distance runners," said the 2008 Beijing Olympics finalist, who also made the final at the 2011 World Championships. "The 800m, which is a semi-sprint event, and to see that Jamaica can produce three top athletes to compete here at the Olympics, I am honoured to know that I played a part in paving the way, and I'm just excited that we are all here."

Sinclair has competed at four events this year with a best time of 2:00.81. At the height of her powers in 2006, she ran 1:57.88 - the national record in the event.

- A.L.