Sat | Feb 23, 2019

Fitness a priority for Freeman

Published:Monday | January 21, 2019 | 11:21 PM
Daszay Freeman of The Queen’s School winning her Class One100m hurdles heat at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Daszay Freeman of The Queen’s School winning her Class One100m hurdles heat at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium on Friday, March 23, 2018.

Hubert Lawrence/

Fans at the 2019 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) can expect a big race in the Class One 100m hurdles, where 2017 World Under-18 champion Brittany Anderson will renew acquaintances with Daszay Freeman, Shanette Allison and Ray-Donna Lee. Freeman has faced these girls before, but this year, all she wants to do is outrun injury.

Freeman, a Manchester High School transfer to The Queens School last year, opened her 2019 hurdling account at the McKenley/Wint Classic on Saturday. The erudite sixth-former is especially happy to be free of the injuries that have humbugged her in the past.

After winning her event in 14.17 seconds despite a -2.3 metre per headwind, she said, “You know, my coach and I have been working together to help eliminate most of my injuries.” It’s a far cry from the sight of her writhing in pain at Champs in the past.

The McKenley/Wint race, staged on the windswept grounds of Calabar High School, gave her a bit of confidence. “Stumbled out of the blocks a bit,” she reviewed, “but overall, I feel it was a good race, a first for the season, and I’m actually pleased.”

HIGHEST RETURNER

Freeman, who turns 19 on Friday, is the highest returner from last year’s Class One Champs final, with a 2018 silver medal, but she is not taking anything for granted. At Calabar, she acknowledged how tough this year’s field will be with a laugh and a sigh and then reaffirmed, “Oh my God, I just want to finish the race healthy.”

Anderson, eligible again after a transfer from Vere Technical to Camperdown, Holmwood Technical star Allison, and Freeman went 1-2-3 in the 2017 Class Two race. The clash sent the record – 13.38 seconds by Peta-Gaye Williams – tumbling from the first round, with Allison and Anderson blazing to times of 13.30 and 13.37 in the heats, respectively, before and Anderson Freeman sped to 13.04 and 13.37 in the semi-final.

Adding to the competition is 2018 Class Two champion Lee of Hydel High School, who broke Anderson’s record with the first Champs sub-13 ever at 12.95 seconds.

Freeman does have a target. Winner for Manchester High in Class Two, and Third in the 2017 World Under-18 race won by Anderson, the tall Queen’s student athlete is watching the clock. “Definitely sub-13, most definitely in the hurdles,” she specified of a marker that would bring her closer to the national record of 12.87 seconds set by Rushelle Burton at the 2016 World Under-20 Championships.

It would also put her under the Boys and Girls’ Championships Class One record of 13.12 seconds by Gabrielle McDonald, then of Edwin Allen High, in 2017.

When Champs is over, Freeman will presumably target a Carifta Games gold medal to go with the silver medals she scored last year behind Champs winner Amoi Brown and behind Anderson.

The next step for the holder of nine CSEC and four CAPE subjects is university, but she has not made up her mind about where to go. “I’m not sure as yet, haven’t decided”, she said.