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Mystery man Bernard looks to surprise

Published:Monday | July 8, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Odane Bernard preparing for the World Youth Championships at the Stadium East field last Tuesday. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

DONETSK, Ukraine:

Meet Odane Bernard, 17-year-old fourth form student from Donald Quarrie High School.

Bernard, among the least experienced members of Jamaica's team here for the IAAF World Youth Championships (WYC), is a bit of a mystery, so to speak.

Quiet, unassuming and always keeping to himself, the youngster, who hails from Cane River in Bull Bay, St Andrew, is not only making his first Jamaican team, but is also travelling for the first time.

It is hardly what most would have envisioned a few months ago, when he crashed out of the semi-finals in the 100m at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls Athletics Championships.

Surprised family, friends

While admitting that even his close friends and parents were surprised when he made the Jamaica team - with a 10.55 third-place finish in the 100m and a personal best 21.66 second-place finish in the 200m - Bernard pointed to weeks of hard work after refocusing; a personal recommitment that he hopes will bring success at this WYC.

"It wasn't too difficult to lift myself after the disappointment at Champs, I just went back into training, worked harder and told myself that I will come to something good and do better at the trials and thankfully I managed to do that," said Bernard.

Looking back, Bernard wasn't even too sure of his disaster at Champs.

"Honestly, I really don't know what happened (at Champs), but my feet were just weak and I got very tired, very quickly. I was very disappointed," Bernard said.

"I managed to come back to the trials and got my spot on this World Youth Championships team and I am very happy about that, it felt really good to make this team, it's the first time making a national team," he added, ahead of the team's departure to the Ukrainian city.

Bernard nervous

For Bernard, with this being his first time leaving the island, the assignment in Ukraine holds particular significance, as he looks to make it an even more memorable experience with success at the end of the championships - even if he is still too nervous to think too much about it.

"Well, it's my first time travelling so honestly I am kind of nervous, but at the same time I am very happy to get this opportunity," he said smiling.

"I just want to go out there and give it my best, but I want to leave with a medal - even if it's a bronze, I want to medal; I would be very happy with that," he added.

Who knows, maybe the man from Cane River can spring yet another surprise on this the biggest stage of his life.

'I just want to go out there and give it my best, but I want to leave with a medal - even if it's a bronze, I want to medal; I would be very happy with that.'