André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
At the age of 18, national discus record holder Jason Morgan made a promise to his now-deceased mother.
Still a schoolboy at Calabar High at that point, Morgan told his mother, who passed away in 2007, that he will one day compete in the Olympic Games; that day has not yet arrived, but the soon-to-be-30-year-old will most likely deliver that promise at next month's London spectacle.
It's been a great year for Morgan, who took last year's disappointment of failing to make the final at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, as a source of motivation, hitting 2012 with renewed faith and motivation.
It has, so far, yielded a national record of 67.15m and high discus expectations among athletics fans in a nation obsessed with sprinters.
The United States-based Morgan has been in the island since last Friday; a visit to his mother's graveside in Portland among his early activities.
"I went to Portland to pay a visit to my mother who passed away in 2007, just before I competed at the World Championships, so I went to visit her spirit and connect with her," Morgan told The Sunday Gleaner, eager to step inside the discus ring and do his stuff.
"My main thing is to come here, finish the competition healthy and execute. This year is a different approach, I just want to be focused and let my technique work, and I know the distance will come," Morgan added.
A year really makes a difference. In 2011, Morgan would have been happy with a spot in the final in Daegu, but only 11 persons have thrown farther then his 67.15m mark and these days, the two-time CAC Games champion has greater ambitions, as he looks to become the first Jamaican to medal in a throwing event at the Olympic Games.
"Daegu was definitely a big motivation for me, because missing out on the final last year gave me a positive energy and renewed determination for this year, with the main aim being to break the national record and being in the Olympic final and taking another step by getting a medal," said Morgan. "My preparation has been geared towards London and making history and making Jamaica proud.
"I now have a stronger faith, more determination to just break down barriers and to let it be known that a Jamaican can make an impact in this event. I think it's my responsibility, at this time, to do as much as I can for this sport in Jamaica," Morgan added.
The powerfully built thrower is now looking to improve on his distance and is confident that he will be able to go further; perhaps this week, having gone closer to 70m in training on several occasions.
"I have been throwing a few 68m and 69m marks in practice and have measured two 70m throws in practice as well, so with the right weather on the right day, I am hoping to get one of those marks," said Morgan.
Throwing events have certainly seen an upturn in recent times and with the likes of Morgan leading a talented band, the interest of Jamaicans will certainly be focused on the field this weekend.
It has not been an easy road for Morgan, but as the lyrics to his favourite song, Journey by dancehall artiste Bugle states, "Some people stop by obstacles my journeys continue" - words he carries with him to each throw.
Editor's Note: The above article was written ahead of Morgan's participation in the men's discus final at the JAAA-Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships at the National Stadium yesterday.