Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Todd trying to get things right

Published:Sunday | December 18, 2016 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence

THE 2011 World Youth 100m champion Odail Todd is rebuilding his athletic career and continuing his studies at the G.C. Foster College for Physical Education. This follows three injury-ridden years at the University of the West Indies (UWI). Now 22 years of age, Todd takes responsibility for his troubles and is working to stay healthy.

"I've been struggling over the years with a lot of niggles and, for the past three years, I've been struggling, and it just wasn't working at UWI for me, so I made the switch to G.C. Foster to see if I can actually regain the focus to propel myself forward," said the former Green Island High School sprint star during a break from a library session at the institution recently. "So, right now, I am at a place where I hope I can get everything right."

He got almost everything right during his years at Green Island, taking Class 1 200m runner-up spots to Delano Williams at Boys and Girls' Championships in 2011 and 2013, Carifta under-17 and 20 bronze medals in the 200m, and very nearly secured the sprint double at the World Youth Championships. He won the 100m but lost narrowly at twice the distance to Stephen Newbold of The Bahamas.

In every season since he left Green Island, injury has crushed his hopes. A quadriceps tear rubbed out his first year at UWI.

"The second year, I damaged my knee, which was caused by some idling," he ruefully recalled. "... And then, this year, I was having a really spectacular season coming up to Intercol. I got myself injured, I think, the Monday before Intercol.

"It was just a slight cramp but it was actually in my glutes and, you know, those areas kind of take long to heal," he said of the left-leg niggle that knocked him out of the Jamaican Intercollegiate Championship and ended his 2016 Olympic season.

His old high school rival Williams has since won a 4x400m World Championship medal with Great Britain. Todd still thinks that he can reach similar heights.

NO DOUBT

"I know I have the talent and I know I am blessed, so there's no doubt about it that if I get all the dots connected and I put together a good season, I am sure I can be a world beater just like anybody else."

Asked about his three-year-old personal bests of 10.37 and 20.78 seconds for the 100m and 200m, respectively, he projected, "I know if I have a good season, like staying injury free, I know I'll be running faster than 9.9, so I'm just trying to keep my head in the game, work hard and stay focused.

"I haven't been managing myself right, so I have no one to blame but myself, and now I am trying to stay away from all those little stupid stuff that I usually did," Todd admitted.

"I used to play like football, basketball and all those stuff. I cut out all of that to ensure that I have nobody to blame," he promised.

The broad shouldered world champion is a realist.

"You have younger athletes running fast and, for me being 22 now, I need to step up and to do something. So, if I don't get myself in the position to start competing at a higher level than the high school kids, probably then, I'll have to seek some kind of other ..." he added without completing the sentence, which, nonetheless, sent a clear message.