'I don't feel pressured'... Nat'l 100m champ Bailey readies for CG introduction
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
With the likes of double Olympic and World champion Usain Bolt back home taking his first steps towards his 2011 season, Jamaica's sprinting hopes here at the 19th Commonwealth Games have fallen squarely on the young shoulders of former Calabar High sprinter, Oshane Bailey.
The 21-year-old, who earlier this year crowned himself national 100m champion after bettering a severely depleted field at the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association National Senior Championships inside Kingston's National Stadium, seems ready to introduce himself to the world. He will, however, be the first to admit that Delhi possesses a far greater challenge.
For the Michael Clarke-coached Bailey, the Commonwealth Games will provide him with an opportunity to test his readiness for the big stage. After all, this is only his first major meet.
However, the youngster is keeping his feet on the ground and remains optimistic about his chances.
"It really is a great feeling being here at the Commonwealth Games, because it's a chance to represent my country and it's my first major meet," Bailey told The Gleaner.
"I really don't feel pressured or anything like that, I'm just focusing on doing what I need to do," he added.
What he intends to do is run a personal best and return home with a medal or two.
Bailey will line up in the 100m and is also expected to feature on the 4x100m relay team.
"I'm not sure who will be the main challengers, but I'm just focusing on going out there and doing my best. Training has been excellent, it has been going really well right now, so I'm satisfied with my preparations going into the Games," said Bailey. "To be honest, I was really nervous at first, but now I'm a lot more comfortable and I'm looking forward to just going there and doing my best."
The 2008 World Junior Champion-ships relay silver medallist has run 10.11 this season and is expected to cause some trouble at this meet, considering that not a lot of sprinters who are here at the Games have gone faster this year.
Bailey has been spending most of his days working on his technique, particularly his start, and he is hoping that the work will pay off over the next few days.
"I'm very happy with the way things have been going this year. I'm focusing on the start of my race right now, I need to improve on that area, my block start," Bailey noted.
The fact that he arrived in Delhi as the national 100m champion of the world's sprinting capital, Jamaica, means that the youngster will be a point of great interest for all in India.
Air of confidence
However, there is a quiet air of confidence around this young man; and one can be excused for getting the impression that he is well-equipped to deal with the pressure.
He is, however, keeping the expectations grounded and is certainly not getting carried away by the hype.
"I'm national champion, but I'm still very young, I'm just starting this and I'm still looking to learn," said Bailey.
As it relates to the sprint relay team, which also includes Lerone Clarke, Lansfrod Spence and Rasheed Dwyer, Bailey believes the Jamaicans have as good a chance as any other team to secure the gold medal.
"We have a pretty good team and we are determined to go out there and do the best that we can for our country and come home with the gold," Bailey assured.