Olympic high hurdler Ronald Forbes is feted wherever he goes in North Side so it was no surprise that the district held an open-air reception in his honour last Friday.
North Side residents are always praying for Forbes’ success so it was fitting that there was a prayer gathering at the Frank Sound Junction in North Side. A torch of hope was lit by Special Olympics athletes Cindy Whittaker and Andrew Haylock as Forbes focuses on being at his peak for the 110 metres hurdles at the London Olympics this summer. Guest speakers included Minister of Sports Mark Scotland and North Side MLA Ezzard Miller.
Miller got the night’s biggest laugh by saying that Forbes’ body is a perfect example of the human form, unlike his which is the total opposite. Scotland congratulated Forbes for his tenacity and perseverance and mentioned that the sprinter was so disciplined that even at a luxurious dinner at Grand Old House the previous night, he was particular about what he should and shouldn’t eat because he puts on weight relatively easily.
A grateful Forbes said: “The people of North Side have had my back for years, even before the 2008 Olympics and I’m so honoured to go out and represent not only the Cayman Islands but also my home district. They have my back 110 per cent and you have to appreciate that no matter where you are.”
Forbes started his season earlier than most by going to the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey three weeks ago. He was sixth in his heat in a modest time. “It didn’t go too good, the way I wanted but mentally and physically I’m alright. It didn’t go good for a lot of people as well, but we’re okay with that. Not every day is going to be on point and everything’s going to go your way.
“It was still worth going there. Any time I get a chance to go out and represent my country I take the opportunity. It’s always a learning experience and there is something positive you can take from there and apply to the next race coming up.”
Forbes will compete at the Cayman Invitational at the Truman Bodden Complex on 9 May, organised by Cydonie Mothersill who will also race in the 200m. He still trains in Miami under coach Joey Scott.
Forbes said: “I’m looking forward to the Cayman Invitational. It’s a case of staying in shape and getting ready to get over the hurdles. I think the last time I ran at home was in 2002 at the John Gray High School sports day.
“I think it’s going to be a good meet. Cydonie’s done a tremendous job so far and so have the people backing her. I don’t think people really appreciate how big it is until it gets here.”
With only four months before the London Games which start on 27 July, Forbes is happy with his preparations. “I’m where I should be. One of the best things I’m enjoying this year is that I have a training partner, Antoine Hicks who is a low 13 seconds runner. He has a good chance of making it into the American team. He does have a good shot.
“My ambitions are to surpass what I did in Beijing. Then the whole Olympics and worldwide scene was new to me. The past four years I’ve gained so much experience. I got to the quarter-finals in Beijing, could have got to the semis had I not messed up by hitting one hurdle.
“This time I want to get to the finals minimum. I’ve visualised it so many times what it takes to make the finals. Knowing that I have it and I’ve seen it time and time again over the past four years. I was just three or four places off making it at the World Championships last year in Daegu and if I’d run in the semis how I ran in the prelims I would have made it to the finals. It’s just a case of grasping that opportunity and making it happen on that day.”