Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Hopeful Forsythe opens new chapter at McKenley-Wint meet

Published:Saturday | January 21, 2017 | 1:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Jamaica’s Mario Forsythe (centre) competing in the 200 metres at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

When Mario Forsythe lines up today to run the Olympic Development 400 metres at the second McKenley-Wint Classic at Calabar High School, he will open a new chapter in his sprint career. It will be his first race as a member of the Akan Track Club. Now, the former University of Technology and Racers sprinter is aiming to regain his best form in the 200 metres.

A fine session of background training has Forysthe feeling optimistic about the 2017 season, which culminates with the World Championships in London this August. He chuckles with athletic joy when he recalls how well his preparatory work has gone.

"Really, really good," he said, "it's been going on good."

A knee injury put the brakes on his Olympic campaign last year, but now he sees bright possibilities. "Right now, I'm at a new club, Akan Track Club, with Mr (Michael) Clarke, so I expect to do good this season," he said brightly while spectating at the JC-Danny Williams Purewater development meet earlier in the month, "because I know I put in the work and we'll see what happens this season coming."

In 2010, he broke the 10 seconds barrier twice in one day in Rieti, Italy, with times of 9.95 and 9.99 seconds. He was solid in 2011 and placed second in the 200m at the National Senior Championships and went all the way to the semi-finals at the World Championships. "That was my biggest moment in track and field," he recalls.

Forsythe, a 2002 Boys and Girls' Championships Class Two 200m bronze medal winner for Muschett High School, has always been a safe pair of hands on the 4x100m relay. He was on the third leg when the Racers set a club 'world record' of 37.46 seconds in 2009 and started a Jamaican all-comers record of 37.82 in Kingston on April 14, 2012.

He is now more focused on the curved sprint. He hasn't given up the 100m but said, "I'm trying to make the team for the 200m.

"That's what I'm aiming for," he explained. "From I put in the work and go out there and do what I'm supposed to do - at least 20.1, 20.0 at the National Stadium," he estimated.

His personal best is 20.27 seconds.

Now 31, Forsythe has been coached by experts Stephen Francis and Glen Mills in the past but refrained from making any comparisons. Instead, he paid high compliments to Clarke.

"You can talk to him about anything, reasonable coach although you train really hard," he said with a playful and pained grin. Acknowledging his age, he revealed, "I have to put in the work more extra because I'm getting older so I have to put in the work, but I like Mr Clarke, I like his programme very much."

The rugged World Championships semi-finalist is looking for a breakthrough season.

"I'm putting in the work," he reasoned, "so I hope I get a good season."