Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Dwyer working on his finish

Published:Monday | May 29, 2017 | 5:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Dwyer

Now 28 years old, Rasheed Dwyer has won international titles for Jamaica without attracting too much attention, and after illness ruined his Olympic year, he is accelerating steadily towards a bid for a place on the national team to the 2017 World Championships. On Saturday, he made a step towards that goal with a controlled run over his pet distance of 200m at a JAAA All-Comers meet at the National Stadium.

Dwyer, a member of the Maurice Wilson, led Sprintec Track Club, essayed a nice run around the curve and closed well to clock 20.21 seconds. It was the fastest time in the event by a Jamaican this year. Afterwards, Dwyer said that the race was preparation for the forthcoming National Senior Championships. "Just came out here to execute a proper 200 and take everything from there," Dwyer summarised.

He ran 20.45 seconds last month and 20.27 seconds, with the wind 0.1 over the allowable limit of 2m per second, at the same venue on May 6. The improvement is pointing towards his goal of running at the World Championships in London in this August. "Every year, I fall short on my finish," he noted self-critically, "so definitely, I'm working on my finish."

Dwyer has quietly amassed some important accolades. He was World University Games 200 champion in 2011. He led a Jamaican 1-2-3 at the 2014 Commonwealth Games with Warren Weir, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, and Jason Livermore filling the other steps on the podium. Later that year, he slipped under 20 seconds for the first time with a run of 19.98 seconds at the Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco.

In 2015, he nearly added the Pan-Am Games title but lost the gold medal to Andre De Grasse of Canada.

In the semi-final, he set a personal best of 19.80 seconds, which lowered a Pan-Am record set in 1971 by the legendary Donald Quarrie. The 19.80 makes Dwyer the fourth fastest Jamaican of all time.

In the final, he was again under 20, with a silver medal time of 19.90 seconds.

Now, after the Zika virus struck him down last year, Dwyer and coach Wilson are steadily working to get him back on the World Champs team. He ran in the 4x100 heats in 2015, and on Saturday, he outlined his 2017 goal, saying, "definitely to represent my country at the Olympics or World Championships" this August.