Sprinting must be the most participated of all Olympic events, especially the 100 metres which is over in a blink of an eye.
A slight mistake can lose a fraction of a second and mean the difference between a medal and also ran. The vagaries and competitiveness of the event puts off many youngsters.
Thankfully for Cayman, that is not the case. Track and field head coach Kenrick Williams has an exceptionally good squad of sprinters he is nurturing for next year’s Beijing Olympics. Their best chance will probably be in the men’s 100m relay. Out of all those gems, one slightly built nugget is Kemar Hyman.
The youngster turned 18 last month and in his brief career has impressed with times that belie his youth. That’s why Willliams has enormous expectations.
Hyman is nonchalant. Injury or poor form or both is an athlete’s biggest threat, but if things work out as planned, he should be a stellar performer soon. ‘In the next few years I see myself in college. Hopefully, in January I’ll be getting off of to a college in Atlanta to study business administration in associates and to also further my running skills and techniques.’ He attended George Hicks middle school then John Gray and is now at UCCI.
Hyman did well against seasoned athletes at the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro in August. ‘I ran the 100m but didn’t break my personal best. I actually got 10.55 seconds which is a season’s best. I didn’t make it to the finals but in the 200m I made the finals and came fifth in a personal best of 21.06 secs. The Olympic qualifying standard is 20.75 secs so next year I should be able to do it.’
Focused and ambitious, Hyman is on Seven Mile Beach every Saturday morning dutifully adhering to Williams’ instructions with fellow track and field mates that include Stephon Johnson and Robert Ibeh.
‘I’m really training hard now, putting in five days a week of gym and coming to the beach Saturday mornings and also doing my sit ups and stuff and listening to my coach.
Coach Williams is really looking for me to make it in the Olympics. He’s really putting in the time and everything else, watching to see where my mistakes are and correct them.’
Gifted youngsters accustomed to dominating sprint events can get dispirited in their first senior year, but Hyman knows it’s all part of the learning curve. This was his first season against the Caribbean’s best and he was inspired. Losing did not bruise his ego. ‘I’ve got a lot of experience from the Carifta Games and also smaller meets, the CAC Juniors. Going up against seniors is not all that bad.’
‘Kemar just turned 18 on Thursday however he has tremendous potential to be a good athlete,’ said Williams. ‘I’m not going to say great yet. He has the ability, he has shown the credentials and put in the work which has paid off. His times in the 100m and 200m qualified him for the World Juniors this year in Poland and he’s looking toward to being a member of the 4 x 100m team in Beijing. It would be unfair to say that he’s the best talent I’ve ever trained but he does rank amongst the top five athletes I’ve ever coached.’ Williams already puts him talent wise in the category of Cayman’s greatest athletes Cydonie Mothersill and Kareem Streete-Thompson.
‘Ninety-five per cent of Kemar’s talent is genes and five per cent hard work of which he combines very well. He comes from a good stock of sporting Hymans from Jamaica who are on the international scene. From he was young in primary school I spotted he had fast-twitch muscles. So I waited until he came into middle school to start him on the junior programme. On the whole, he has tremendous ability, it’s just for him to remain focused and continue doing what he is doing.’
Williams expects to see the finished article in five years’ time. ‘Definitely, by London, 2012 I know Kemar will be there, without a doubt. With the type of development we’re seeing from him and in the four years he’ll spend in the US in college it’ll be great for our programme and great for Kemar to make the transition from the college system into the Olympics.’