Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Odean Skeen sees himself as being better now, at age 17, than triple Olympic Gold medallist and world record holder Usain Bolt was, at the same age. Skeen is an Olympic gold medallist in his own right, having won double gold at the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games held in Singapore.
"People call me the next Bolt, but I think I am better than Bolt compared to when he was my age," the supremely confident Skeen said. "So I am just setting up myself to be fast and become the next top sprinter in Jamaica," he added.
The Wolmer's Boys High School student will be looking to back his argument at the 14th World Junior Championships to be held in Barcelona, Spain between July 10 and 15 when he lines up in the 100 metres.
"I am not feeling any pressure, as long as I believe in God, follow what my coach says and believe in myself I should be fine," he reasoned. "I am looking for a next title to add to my name, so the title and gold medal would be good for my country, myself, family and friends," he added.
Skeen had a tremendous 2010 season, as in addition to the Youth Olympics title, he scored victories at the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association /GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships, the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championship and the Carifta Games.
Things went in the opposite direction for him in 2011, as he endured a miserable season, plagued by injuries to his groin and hamstring. He was forced to withdraw from the 100m at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille and subsequently false-started in the 200m.
This year has also begun poorly, as he false-started in the Class One boys' 100m at Champs and failed to qualify for the final of the 200m.
He would, however, redeem himself somewhat as he ran a personal best of 10.33 seconds to win at the University of Technology Track and Field Classics in April, before topping the field at junior trials with a 10.24 seconds clocking; supported by a positive 2.2m/s wind.
"I was injured at the first part in January, but I have got over that and right now I am healthy and that's the most important thing," he stated. "Things have been kind of up and down, but they are heading in the right direction now, because I have a personal best this year, so right now things are going well for me," he added.
Skeen's personal best over the 100m is nowhere near the top of the list of best times over the distance by juniors this year; he is not even the fastest Jamaican junior with Julian Forte (10.19) and Jevaughn Minzie (10.28) having gone faster.
"Right now I am not up there in the rankings, but that's good for me, because persons in Jamaica know my times, but otherwise out there nobody knows my times and I am all right with that," Skeen reasoned.