Sun | Jun 16, 2019

Chang continues Calabar legacy

Published:Saturday | March 30, 2019 | 12:12 AMRachid Parchment /Gleaner Writer
Kai Chang of Calabar acknowledges the crowd ahead of the boys  Class One discus final, which he won with 61.93 metres at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships held at the National Stadium.
Kai Chang of Calabar acknowledges the crowd ahead of the boys Class One discus final, which he won with 61.93 metres at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships held at the National Stadium.

Discus thrower Kai Chang wrapped up his ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships career at the National Stadium on Thursday.

Chang, 19 years old, threw a distance of 61.93m to win the event and said although he is disappointed not to have broken Traves Smikle’s record of 66.88m, he is glad to have done his part for his school one last time, in its quest to capture its eighth straight Mortimer Geddes trophy.

Calabar has an established reputation in the throws events as it is the alma mater of Smikle and also Fedrick Dacres, Commonwealth Games Champion, last year’s IAAF Diamond League winner, and the 2018 RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation Sportsman of the Year.

Those are large footsteps to follow, but Chang is confident in his ability to go on and have a bright career like his predecessors. However, being a committed Calabar student, he is looking at the next generation of throwers coming up behind him and he believes that they too show promise.

“The guys are good,” he said. “We have Zachery Dillon, the CARIFTA double-gold medallist. He’s also the record holder for the Under 17 discus throw, and we have Tarick George. He’s very talented and you should look out for him.

We also have other guys – Kobe Lawrence, Denz Simmonds, and other upcoming athletes who have the talent to be world-class athletes, already showing their mettle, and I really see a great future for Calabar in the throws.”

Now that he is nearing the end of his life as a high school athlete, he is looking towards university.

“I’m still yet to make a decision on where to go or where I am going,” Chang said.

“But I’m still considering. I’m going through the phases. I have about 20 to 25 offers for universities and I’m thankful for that, but I’m leaving my options open. I’m still remaining open to all other options until I’m ready to make a final decision.

But Chang’s main objective, for now, is qualifying for the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, this September.

“God’s willing, I can qualify for World Championships. That’s the main aim,” he said.

“That’s really my aim this year. Coach (Julian Robinson) didn’t want me to throw the 1.7kg (weight of the disc) that much, but because of the Championships, I have to get back to the 1.7.”