Jamaica’s Barcelona 2012 World U20 bronze medallist Odean Skeen has found a place he believes is ideal for his development. Skeen, in a one-and-one with Trackalerts.com, said “I’ve been great” and that “I never felt better.”
“I finally found a place that suits me, and a coach that wants to see the best of me,” added the former Wolmer’s High sprinter.
“I’d love to say; my training is going great. New coach, new environment and new goals! After starting practice this past October, we have now begun to focus on sprints and blocks. In the beginning, we, my training partners and I got a definitive amount of endurance training in, and now as it gets closer to the new year, we are in sprint mode, working and focusing on mechanics and speed.
Skeen is training in Waco, Texas at Baylor University with Coach Michael Ford. He also used the opportunity to “thank Puma for their continuing support through good and bad.”
The 25-year-old, who helped Jamaica to 4x100m silver medals at the Moncton 2010 and Barcelona 2012 World U20 Championships, is working on his mental toughness.
“Although training has been well, I’m still working on my mentality.
“Though a few nagging injuries have hindered my training through the years, I believe strengthening my mentality through training will get me through tough times.
In 2017, Skeen ran a personal best, 9.98s in Auburn, but later missed 2018 with injuries and recorded a modest 10.56 in 2019. Skeen’s sub-10secs run made him the 15th Jamaican, on an illustrious list headed by Usain Bolt’s 9.58 world record.
He explained what happened after his only sub-10 run. “In 2017, I felt my spark come back while dealing with a few torn tendons in my ankle, but that never stopped me. Thankfully, I was able to push through and ran at Jamaica trials, but that came to a short end when I pulled up in the finals with a grade 3 tear in my hamstring. As I wanted to redeem myself from then, in 2018, I took time off for my hamstring to heal but ended up having to receive surgery on my ankle where Dr Saxena fixed the torn tendons to keep it from swelling as it did. Through therapy, I was able to get my ankle stable again and now, 2019, it’s stronger than it has ever been.”
“During my training for 2018-2019, I still had a few nagging issues from my hamstring, which prevented me from competing earlier in the year. I tried my best to come back sooner but didn’t want to make my hamstring worse. I was only able to run just one meet while overseas (Bellinzona, Switzerland) due to my hamstring. Towards the end of the race, I felt my hamstring again and slowed down close to the line to prevent another injury. But, all is well now. I’m paying close attention to my body and doing what is needed to avoid any other issues from happening.
Skeen, who won two gold medals – 100m and medley relay at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, believes he is in the best shape of his life going into 2020.
“I know I am in the best shape since 2017. After having surgery on my ankle back in 2018, my head is in a better place to have a strong comeback this year. I dedicate each day to being better than I was yesterday. This year will be one to remember.
“For 2020, I’m aiming to be more humble and come back for all that is mine. To achieve this, I will continue to keep Jah first, do all that I can remain as healthy as possible for the year.
Skeen, who won four Carifta Games gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, ended with a quote from Marcus Garvey saying “With confidence, you have won before you have started.”
“My confidence will always keep me ahead of my game. Without it, there’s no power, no heart, no discipline. 2020, everyone will see how far confidence can take them. Just believe in yourself and training as I do,” Skeen said.
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