For decades Jamaica has been showcasing a number of talented sprinters on the world stage. Most of these world-class performers were nurtured from a tender age throughout various age-group competitions. One of those competitions is the popular ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs), which is the biggest stage for high school athletes.
Calabar’s Tyreke Wilson has been one of the stars at Champs in recent times. The Portland native’s journey into track and field began when he came to Kingston to live with his mother. He was competing at his primary school’s annual sports day when he was spotted by the head coach who told him that he has some talent. “The coach encouraged me to start track and field and that’s where it all began in grade 4.” Since then he has blossomed into a fine athlete.
Wilson set the Champs class 3 200m record (21.72) in 2014. He was a double silver medallist in the 100m and 200m the following year in class 2. However, an injury in 2016 limited his participation at Champs that year. According to him it was his most memorable moment in track and field. “Getting injured at the Gibson/McCook relays was the biggest disappointment for me in track field,” said the humble Calabar sprinter.
Perhaps he gets his humility from his role model Asafa Powell. Wilson spoke glowingly of the former world-record holder and his influence. “Asafa Powell, in my opinion, is the person who put Jamaica’s track and field back on the map. He has many attributes and I love the way he carries himself. He’s a male that I look up to.”
After a slow start this season, Wilson is gradually improving and working his way back to his best form.
“I’m feeling great physically but mentally I have some ways to go. It is something I’m working on.”
The 17-year old speedster has a long season ahead and in addition to competing at Champs and the CARIFTA Games, he is also looking forward to the IAAF World U18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya the last edition of that age group competition.
“I’m going out there to do my best so fans can expect that from me.”
Nevertheless, he is hoping to get some stiff competition throughout to run fast because he feels that’s when his true potential shines through. “I thrive under a lot of tension and when I’m under pressure. If there’s no competition, I just go out there and do what is necessary to win.”
There will be plenty competition in the boys class 1 sprints at Champs, so track fans will get a chance to witness Tyreke Wilson go at full throttle for Calabar High School. It is widely expected this year, that he will lower his 100m personal best (10.52) and break 21 seconds for the first time in the 200m.