National treasure! - Dyke careful with star athlete Kevona Davis' conditioning
Edwin Allen High School track and field head coach Michael Dyke said that star athlete Kevona Davis' success at the recent ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships (Champs) was due in part to patience and carefulness in preparing her this season.
The 16-year-old, who was favoured to win the 100m final at the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, last year, placed third because of a hamstring injury she suffered in the race. Dyke said that he and his technical team gave special attention to nursing her injuries properly to ensure that she had a much better year than the previous one.
"We ensured that she got the best treatment available, and we assured her that everything would be fine," Dyke told The Gleaner. "I took my time to ensure that she recovered properly before I got her into any competition. She has been pain-free since."
Davis bounced back from that disappointment in Kenya and also that of false-starting in last year's Champs' Class 3 100m final by breaking both the Class 2 girls' 100 and 200m Champs records in the semi-final and final of both events this year. She clocked 11.35 in the 100m before taking it down to 11.16 seconds. In the 200m, she first clocked 22.92 seconds, before improving that time in the final to 22.72 seconds.
Dyke said that he did not intend on her lowering both records twice, but her natural winning mentality ensured that the feat happened regardless of their intention.
GO FOR WIN
"Honestly, I told her not to go after the record in the final," he shared. "I said, 'Since you had broken the record earlier in the week, just go for the win.' But Kevona is that type of athlete. Once the gun goes, she's going to run."
Dyke is mindful of the possibility of burnout for Davis and said that ensuring that she gets enough rest before the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, is critical.
"With the World Under-20s coming up, we will have to spend time after Champs and have her relax for a little while, probably after the Penn Relays, and prepare her for the trip to Finland," he said.