Fri | Aug 23, 2019

Hell Bent! - William Knibb sprinter overcoming injuries to follow in footsteps of Usain Bolt

Published:Friday | March 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment/Sports News Coordinator
William Knibb’s André Bent competing in the Class Two boys 100m heats at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium, yesterday.

Andre Bent is a 16-year-old Class Two 100 and 200m sprinter for William Knibb High School. Bent attends the school famous for producing sprint legend Usain Bolt, and as a result, has to cope with questions of whether he can become the school's next sprint star to go on to greatness on the international level.

If this pressure were not enough, Bent's young athletics career has been compounded by hamstring injuries, which forced him into a late start to preparations for this season.

"When I ran at the Western Champs (in February), I was rusty and didn't do so well," Bent told The Gleaner. "I had some major injuries from primary school coming up that resurfaced last year. I had to sit out a lot of training because of them."

His coach, Melvin Weller, said that like Bolt, Bent has scoliosis (curvature of the spine), and he has to be careful with his training. Weller said that his athlete also avoids strength training as a result.

"Based on what AndrÈ has been doing, I could not ask him to do anything more," Weller said. "He is having a quarter season. He started his preparation sometime in December, and I have to be mindful as to how I go about his training programme. He's doing pretty well, and I'm pleased with his accomplishments. He has great potential, and he's one for the future. It's just a matter of time before he becomes very good. With a full season, this guy can break the Champs record."

Bent has a personal best of 10.62 seconds in the 100m and 21.28 in the 200. Weller hopes that he will lower these times to 10.50 in the 100m and 20.90 seconds in the 200m by the end of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.




Bent said that he was determined not to let injury end his career before it could really get going, and he also had a lot of people watching his progress, and he did not want to let them down.

"There's always pressure. People say I'm the next Usain Bolt, but I just think of myself as just a normal kid that's just trying to do what he has to do."

As many would expect, Bent said that Bolt is his idol. However, he said that he has never got the chance to meet the world's fastest man, but he would love to talk to him someday and get tips on improving his technique and dealing with his injuries. For now, he keeps in touch with his older brother, Christopher Bent, who went to the United States on a track and field scholarship. Christopher previously represented Herbert Morrison at Champs 2016.

Bent competes in today's Class Two Boys 100m semi-final after winning his heat yesterday in a time of 10.97 seconds.