By Noel 'Bravo' Francis, Special to TrackAlerts.Com

Die-hearted track and field fans who witnessed the last five minutes of the second and final day of the 2015 JAAA CARIFTA trials inside the National Stadium will long remember two stunning men’s 400m races. While many persons expected Calabar’s Christopher Taylor to do something special, no one except Kingston College’s coach, Neil Harrison, could predict or imagine what his athlete Akeem Bloomfield was capable of achieving. Everyone was speechless 45 seconds later. 

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, the tall 17-year-old Bloomfield burst on the scene in 2014 raising eyebrows with some incredible sprinting over the 100m and 200m before injury curtailed his season at the ISSA Boys & Girls championship. It was a disappointing end for such a promising start to his ‘Champs’ career. 

Armed with a different philosophy, new coach and training regime, Bloomfield’s 2015 track & field season should be more productive and jubilant. His 45.41 clocking at the CARIFTA trials over 400m gave fans a glimpse of what the future holds for this brilliant student athlete. At the time of writing (March 15), Bloomfield’s run was the fastest recorded 400m outdoors this season (Junior or Senior) according to the 2015 IAAF world-leading list.

In an interview on March 14, 2015 at the G.C Foster College Classic, Bloomfield shared some very interesting details about his life and plans.

Question: How tall are you?  Answer: “6 feet 5 inches”.

Question: What is your favourite meal?  Answer: “Oxtail and Rice & Peas prepared by my mom”.

Question: Are your parents Jamaicans? Answer: “Yes, my mom is from St. James and my dad from Westmoreland”.

Question: What do you do in your spare time? Answer: “I like to read. I particularly like to read about persons who strive from humble beginnings, overcoming major obstacles and succeeding through sheer determination and hard work. Those stories interest me a lot”. 

Question: What are your favourite subjects? Answer: “English Language and English Literature; I was the top Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) student at Kingston College in English Language”.

Question: How many CSEC subjects did you attain? Answer: “I passed all 10 of my CSEC subjects last year”.

Question: After high school, which field of study would you be pursuing? Answer: “Forensic Science or Computer Science”.

Question: Who is your role model and why? Answer: “I actually have two, my mom and Jamaican Olympian Hansle Parchment. My mom motivates me and is my biggest supporter. Parchment is a K.C. Old Boy and Olympian who is always encouraging me with words of wisdom”.

Question: Who is your favourite international athlete?  Answer: “Delano Williams of Great Britain, he is like a big brother to me and he is wonderfully talented”.

Question: Which event is your favourite? Answer: “The 200m”.

Question: What has been your biggest track & field disappointment to date?  Answer: “My biggest disappointment was when I got injured at ‘Champs’ last year. It caused me to miss the other finals I had qualified for and also the CARIFTA Games and Penn Relays. Despite my disappointment, I took it like a man and told myself that I am still young and have enough time to shine”. 

Question: Who is your mentor? Answer: “My coach Neil Harrison; he is like a father to me. He is very humble, does not impose himself on others and he listens and understands me. I have learnt to trust and respect him completely and he has proved himself to me over time. I just follow his instructions and reap the results”.

Question: Did you expect to run 45.41 seconds over 400m at the CARIFTA trials? Answer: I did not expect to run that fast. While I was standing behind my blocks, I looked around at the field and saw Ivan Henry of St. Jago High. I know he likes to go out hard, so I decided I would try to beat him to the straight. After 250m I still felt strong and just continued swinging my arms and powered home”.

Question: How did you feel after that amazing run? Answer: Immediately, I felt nothing. I guess adrenaline took over. However, when I woke up the next day my body felt like deadweight. I just had an out of body experience even on the Monday at training I could only do light jogging. I am excited about the time".

Question: Do you think you can run faster than 45.41 seconds? Answer: “My coach and I watched the race on and saw areas where improvements can be made, so who knows”.

Question: Which events are you competing in at Champs 2015? Answer: “At this moment I am not sure, however, anything my coach decides I will be ready”.

At that moment, his teammate Twayne Crooks who had just collected his Digicel Grand Prix top prize for winning the 400m in a personal best of 45.91 seconds sat down with us. Both chuckled when I asked which one of them is going to win the Class 1 400m at ‘Champs’. They finally agreed it could be a dead heat.

Bloomfield has the personality and brains to achieve great things. He has a love for history and maybe he is on a path where historians will record his feats. At this stage, he is not looking too far ahead. He just hopes that this season he gets another chance to shine at ‘Champs’, CARIFTA and the Penn Relays. Best wishes to Akeem Bloomfield as he continues to stride towards success.


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