By Sara-Lee Rowe, TrackAlerts.Com Writer
The majestic hillside view served as the ideal backdrop for the young athletes lowering their muscular and well toned bodies to the ground as they out danced one another to the popular dancehall craze “Syvah.” If these junior and senior throwers weren’t getting “way up and staying up”, they were either cheering on their teammates or breaking records at the Big Shot 2015 held at Excelsior High School on Saturday, January 24.
It’s fair to say that Jamaican throwing competitions are not as highly recognized as track meets; and that if one were to direct a field meet, proper preparation into aspects such as food, venue, music and staff are vital to ensure that spectators are entertained throughout the day. So said and so done because the party vibe at Big Shot 2015 came close to any hot Kingston party on a Friday night.
With the massive worldwide attention on Jamaican track, it was almost chilling when it was announced that discus thrower Federick Dacres from Calabar High School had won a gold medal in the 2011 World Youth Championship in Athletics, and then to surpass expectations, (omit ‘’when’’) he went to Barcelona and brought home gold again at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Athletics.
Dacres had made Jamaican history in being the first discus thrower to ever reach such heights. So it made me wonder, what fueled this powerhouse? The 20-year-old athlete was not hard to miss amidst the sturdy bodies strutting their stuff in their sponsored spandex suits. He stood 6’3 and it was obvious he had not been missing any meals and while his talent is intimidating, the young athlete was most pleasant and willingly ready to share his success stories with me.
After the double global champion and I had a lovely chat, I sat down to look at my notes and before my seat could warm up, it was announced that he had just made a world-leading discus throw of 66.30 meters, crushing his Australian competition Julian Wruck who formerly held the title with a throw of 62.30 meters. What made this moment significant was not only his leading title but that he had beat the qualifying distance of 65 meters for the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015. If this Calabar graduate is throwing at 66.30 meters in January, the mind cannot conceive at what skill level the senior athlete would be at, while competing to make it to Beijing this year. With my big brown eyes wide open the only thing I could do was run over to his coach on the field and yell “Coach did we not just talk about this?”
Prior to Dacres world leading throw at Big Shot 2015, I was still curious as to what fueled this powerhouse. With my pen and note pad I ran across the field and approached his Throw Coach Julian Robinson and asked if he had ever been placed on any special diets, but to my surprise Robinson said, “He ate what was available. Sugar dumpling, ackee, calaloo, no special diet.” Right now the UWI Mona student says he eats up to 5 meals a day, and like all humans he has his guilty pleasure, “My favourite junk food is Burger King…I really like the double whopper.”
Here we have a world champion athlete with a world leading discus throw that is able to eat whatever he wants and still remains in the greatest physique; it forced me to ask the million dollar question, “Are you happy?” On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most happy), the gold medalist confessed that he is at an 8. While 8 is a great happy score, I was perplexed as to why this champion was not at the full 10. “Things could be better…No finance worry, no school work, and more recognition,” said Dacres.
While to the eye, his life appears to be the ideal of an up and coming senior athlete, the discus thrower believes he has not reached his pinnacle and aspires for more championships. If this is the mindset that led him to Saturday’s world leading throw, I say keep it up!
Currently Dacres is studying Sociology at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, and says that he will continue to take it one day at a time. While I pushed him to tell me his precise goals within his 10-year-plan, the senior athlete and current word leading discus thrower simply said, “I just throw.”