Sun | Sep 19, 2021

My best is yet to come — Tracey

Published:Thursday | July 29, 2021 | 12:05 AMAndrÈ Lowe/Sports Editor

TOKYO, Japan: Jamaican sprinter Tyquendo Tracey has no doubts that he is better than his 9.96 seconds personal best and is hoping to put the perfect race together at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and spring a surprise in the 100m event. It has been...

TOKYO, Japan:

Jamaican sprinter Tyquendo Tracey has no doubts that he is better than his 9.96 seconds personal best and is hoping to put the perfect race together at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and spring a surprise in the 100m event.

It has been a year of changes for the 28-year-old, who took somewhat of a gamble in switching training camps in an Olympic year and with the season already well-advanced.

However, after arriving at the Olympic Games as the national 100m champion and primed to dip below the 10s barrier, Tracey is feeling pretty good about his dice roll and is eager to step on the track in Tokyo and prove his doubters wrong.

“I see myself better than that 9.96,” he said. “I would not say a specific time, but I am feeling great. I have been training great for the last couple of weeks leading up to here, so I am just staying focused, staying healthy and waiting for the day.”

Since running back-to-back sub-10 seconds clockings of 9.96s and 9.98s at the London Diamond League in 2018, Tracey has not managed to go faster than 10.00s, which was his winning time at Trials, where he got the better of Yohan Blake and Oblique Seville.

The sprinter admitted that his midseason coaching change and relocation to coach Okeile Stewart’s camp in Jamaica from his former base at the Tumbleweed Track Club in Florida, could have proven to be a disastrous decision.

SETTING CLEAR TARGETS FOR FIRST OLYMPICS

Instead, he is looking forward to his first experience at the Olympic Games, and has set some clear targets for himself, which include getting on the medal podium inside the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

“It has been a very rough season, [but] the transition surprisingly went very well,” Tracey told The Gleaner. “I have wanted to make this transition for some time. I thought things would have gotten better where I was coming from but they didn’t, so I had to make the rough decision to switch clubs in an Olympic year at more than half of the season.

“Right now my main focus is to put a race together like at Trials. I was finishing well throughout the heats and semis; and in the final I started well, but I wasn’t accelerating after the start and start moving away like how I was finishing in the semis, so for me, now, it’s to get the mind right so I could mesh everything together like I know I can. The start and the finish like a train, because I have really good top-end speed right now and it’s just to put everything together.”

If that execution comes together, Tracey believes he can aim high in Tokyo.

“A medal. Hopefully the top one. That’s’ what everyone is aiming for and that’s what I am aiming for, so coming out on top would mean a successful championship for me,” Tracey said.

Bold, but it is also very clear that Tracey is not easily swayed by sentiments.

“Honesty, I couldn’t care less what a lot of people think. At the end of the day, when I am out there training, I have never seen any of them who pass these criticisms against Jamaican athletes cheering us on or carrying a bottle of water to the track, so it’s all about me and the persons closest to me and who have been supporting me over the years. So regardless of who wants to say Jamaican athletes are this or that, or we are falling behind, that is just their opinion,” Tracey asserted.

The men’s 100m heats will start on Saturday at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium at 7:45 p.m. (5:45 a.m. Jamaica time).

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com