Dacres hits 'A' mark
Leighton Levy, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Federick Dacres, in his first real competition since returning from career-threatening knee surgery in 2014, produced a world leading throw of 66.30 metres in the discus at the Big Shot meet held at Excelsior High School yesterday.
What is remarkable about the performance, if ratified, is that it would have come three months after the University of the West Indies second-year student was cleared by doctors to resume training after undergoing surgery last May.
"I was a bit shocked because I can't say I expected this," said Dacres, who, with the throw, exceeded the 'A' qualification standard of 66 metres for the IAAF World Championships that come up this summer in Beijing, China.
"Based on the knee surgery and everything, Coach (Julian Robinson) gave me a talk and said that we were working towards the Olympics in 2016. So, basically, I have been working; working because I have pride and don't want to be that person that did things and then dropped off. I worked and it has actually paid off," said Dacres, who turns 21 next month.
A LOT STRONGER
Paid off it has, as Dacres, a World Youth and World Junior champion in the discus has also packed on about 20 pounds of muscle and, by his own admission, is a lot stronger than when he threw 66.75 metres on March 29, 2014. That throw in Austin, Texas, during his first season as a senior athlete, was a world-leading mark before injury ended Dacres' season and killed his chances at testing his mettle against the best in the Commonwealth in Glasgow, Scotland. At the end of 2014, only four throwers in the world had better marks.
Coach Robinson, who has been working with Dacres since he was a skinny kid at Calabar High School, said the young charge just continues to amaze.
"Federick is hard-working and passionate about his event. He had to endure a lot. He is a tough human being, abnormal if you can say that," a proud Robinson said. "And the thing is, he is not even ready yet. He hasn't even started plyometric work yet."
Robinson confirmed that his plans involve preparing Dacres for the Olympics in 2016. "So right now, we are focusing on strength but he has come back stronger and better than before."