André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
When middle-distance star Waquar DaCosta went down in the semi-finals of the Class One boys 800 metres on Thursday night inside the National Stadium, question marks were immediately raised over Jamaica College's (JC) chances of topping the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championship.
DaCosta, the Class Three 800m record holder, went into the championships with an injured left hamstring after pulling up at the Gibson Relays a few weeks prior. The athlete failed to finish his semi-final, forcing a recalculation of expected points by the JC management team.
It was to be a bitter end for the former Carifta Games double gold medalist, who was also expected to feature in the 1500m and 4x400m relay for his school.
However, the 17-year-old was determined to play a role, one way or the other, and became a motivational leader of sorts, driving his team from behind the scenes and revelling in the success that followed.
DaCosta shared his grief after picking up the injury, but underlined his resolve and determination not to allow his injury and the absence of other key athletes such as Rohan Walker, who was barred from competing by the school for academic reasons, and Kavean Smith, who was also injured.
"I was very disappointed. I actually cried Thursday night when I didn't advance to the 800m final," DaCosta shared. "I was very disappointed, but then I went into a mood, sat down and thought to myself that even though I'm out of the championship, I cannot allow that to bring down the team. So I made myself useful by giving them some inspirational talks and remind them that even though three of us were out, we still can bring home the trophy."
"They were lifted and everyone was determined and promised to go out there and win it for the three of us, the coaching staff, the past students, teachers, everyone, and we are all happy with the victory," DaCosta added.
DaCosta who also had injury problems last year, could barely find words to capture his emotions after the victory, and paid homage to the younger members of the squad who he credited for the triumph.
"At this moment, I don't even know how to express myself but I'm extremely happy with this victory. It has been 10 years, I have been here for six years and I'm very pleased to have witnessed this," said DaCosta.
"When I saw that it was down to the younger boys; the Class Two and Three athletes, we saw them really step up on Saturday. We were in every final, if not the top three, then the top five. When I saw that, cold chills took over my body and I was amazed at the work that they were doing to take home the trophy," DaCosta added before stating his intentions for next year.
"The vibes in the stands was awesome and everyone was elated. When we lifted the trophy, it was just an extremely special moment to know that we were able to bring back the trophy to 189 Old Hope Road," he noted. "I will be returning next year, of course, it's my last year and, hopefully, it will be my best year."
'When we lifted the trophy, it was just an extremely special moment to know that we were able to bring back the trophy to 189 Old Hope Road.'