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Despite injury, Skeen keen to play 'a role' for Wolmer's Boys

Published:Tuesday | March 22, 2011 | 12:00 AM

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

Last year belonged to Wolmer's Boys' School as much as it belonged to their poster boy, Odean Skeen, the double sprint champion at the 2010 Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.

Skeen won last year's Class Two 100m and 200m before going on to beat the field in the 100m at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore a few months later.

The Portmore native also had big wins at the Junior Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and Carifta Games level, including a Carifta Under-17 200m title, making him one of the most high-profile athlete going into this year's Champs.

However, the 16-year-old is expected to be far from his best come next week, after being dogged by a bothersome groin injury over the past four months.

Skeen's injury is a massive blow to the Wolmer's quest, and his assessment of being only 40 per cent fit going into the last full week of preparation ahead of the March 30-April 2 meet means that things will be even more difficult for the Heroes Circle-based team to retain the Mortimer Geddes Trophy this time around.

"I'm not really fit, I would say right now I am about 40 per cent fit," said Skeen, sulking.

Though we know that he was very good last year, just how good is 40 per cent?

"That is really far off from my regular standards, but based on how I felt at Gibson Relays, I don't think it's that bad, plus there is still time for it to get even better," he added.

Skeen, who ran the anchor leg in his school's third-place finish in the Class One boys 4x100m relay at Gibson Relays, says that the outing was used mainly to test his level of fitness going into Champs and has left him feeling hopeful that he will be able to play a solid role in his team's title efforts.

"It was a good race (Gibson Relays), but I was really just trying out the leg to see how it would respond under pressure. It went well and so I am hopeful it will continue to get better leading into Champs," said Skeen, who seems unlikely to feature in the 200m this year, in an effort to minimise the chance of an aggravation to his injury and focus on the shorter sprint.

"I doubt I will run the 200m at this year's Champs because the groin will be under too much strain on the corner, so I'm just focusing on regaining some fitness and doing my best in the 100m," Skeen stated.

He was also quick to downplay the impact his downscaled role will have on the school's chances and sought to assure that his teammates remain fully motivated ahead of the task at hand.

"The vibe is very strong, very high in the team. We are defending champions and we are here to keep our title, so everyone is being very positive about the whole situation," said Skeen. "It (injury) brings the guys' motivation down a little bit, but I still try to keep them focused and motivated. I know I will play a role and I will give it my best shot."