Patterson grateful for extra Olympic prep time
As national rower Shahiede Patterson refocuses his efforts to qualify for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games, he says that the unexpected additional preparation time has left him in a better position to challenge for that historic spot.
At this time last year, the 20-year-old Patterson departed for the United States for intense training in pursuit of his goal of becoming the country’s first Olympic representative in Rowing. Two months later, those ambitions were deferred as the coronavirus pandemic led to a postponement of his Olympic qualifying event in Brazil as well as the Tokyo Games itself, which forced him to return home before the travel restrictions took place last March.
Despite the initial disappointment of having to wait another year to attempt to make history for Jamaica, Patterson says that he has managed to turn it into a positive.
“At first, it was a little bit depressing because you are preparing now, you are a few weeks away and then just like that you heard that it’s not going to happen,” Patterson told The Gleaner. “But after you sit back and you really think about I, you are saying, I can use it to my advantage. It gives us more time to prepare to do better. So, it was more like that for me.”
Patterson resumed training in the water only last August but has recently intensified his preparations in the Kingston Harbour and is also doing additional gym work as he now works towards the rescheduled qualifying event, now slated for March in Rio de Janeiro. Patterson says that the additional time has been used to gauge his current level and to make improvements.
“It has been definitely good. I have gotten the chance to get more time on the water. I’m trying to build the intensity more and more every time that I go out just to get better every time,” Patterson said. “It has given me more experience probably not with races, but with more time on the water, more time understanding myself and to see where I can do better.”
Similar to other athletes, his preparations continue under a cloud of uncertainty over the staging of the Tokyo Olympics, which was pushed back to this July. Tokyo and its surrounding provinces are currently under a second state of emergency as COVID-19 cases and fatalities increase, increasing concerns that the Olympics would be cancelled if the situation does not improve.
Despite the uncertainty, Patterson says that he is committed to controlling his own readiness for the qualifier, emphasising that the overall mission to increase the sport’s profile nationally would not change if the Tokyo Games were cancelled.
“I have to focus on step one which is qualifying so that is my premier focus right now,” he said.