Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
In his very first Diamond League meet in Crystal Palace, England, last August, Warren Weir ran a personal best 20.43 seconds to finish second behind American Walter Dix 20.16 and ahead of World Championship silver medallist, Alonso Edwards, of Panama 20.55.
As he prepares for his second Diamond League appearance in New York this weekend, the former Calabar High sprinter is looking to go one better.
"I am hoping to get four points," Weir said in reference to the points awarded for winning a Diamond League event. It must be noted that his personal best was run into a headwind of -2.0m/s.
Come Saturday at the New York Diamond League meeting, the adidas grand prix, Weir will go up against a largely Caribbean field that includes Marvin Anderson, Nickel Ashmeade, Rasheed Dwyer, Mario Forsythe, Churandy Martina, Curtis Mitchell and Jaysuma Saidy Ndure.
So far this season, the 23-year-old member of Racers Track Club has run personal bests - 20.21 at the Jamaica Invitational on May 5 and just a few days later, 20.13 in the Cayman Islands. The times were particularly impressive considering that the former was run after Weir had just restarted training after being ill for two weeks. With this in mind, he feels he is capable of breaching the 20-second barrier in New York on Saturday.
"It's my final race before trials so I am looking for a personal best, and at the same time I am looking to work on my technique and to come out of the race healthy," he said.
"I am stronger now and healthier, so going under 20 seconds is a possibility."
If Weir is sounding a bit confident, he believes he has good cause.
"Training has been going well, perfect, I would say. I am confident to the point where I know I can go out against any field and do my very best," he said.
He says this knowing what he is going to be up against if he is to make the Jamaican team to London this summer. Going up against the two fastest men in history over the 200 metres - Usain Bolt (19.19) and Yohan Blake (19.26) - Weir is very aware of the task that lies before him.
In addition to Bolt and Blake, he will also face quality sprinters like Ashmeade, whose personal best is 19.91 and who clocked a fast 9.93s over the 100 metres in Eugene, Oregon, last weekend, as well as Ramone McKenzie, Marvin Anderson and Kenroy Anderson, among others.
"It is going to be tougher than the Diamond League," he said of the Jamaica trials. "There won't be any baby steps, no easy rounds. Each round is going to be hard."
Those races, however, are still three weeks away. For now, he is focusing on Saturday and following coach Glen Mills' advice, which is to "run smart and come out injury free".