ST JOHN’S, Antigua – National youth sprinters Tahir Walsh and Cejhae Greene, who are fresh from the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships held in Barcelona, Spain from July 10 to 15, have shared contrasting experiences after returning home on Monday afternoon.
Walsh, who was plagued by injury throughout the season, said he found it difficult to perform at his best throughout the competition. Walsh failed to advance from the quarter-final rounds of both the 100 and 200 metres sprints.
“I was also off in El Salvador and wasn’t getting much from my body in terms of power on the tracks and stuff like that. In Barcelona, I was sort of recovering from that; one day I am in the blocks and coming out good, and the next day I woke up with some serious back pains and that was sort of plaguing me throughout the whole tour,” he said.
Greene, who had a bit more success in both categories when he competed but failed to advance from the semi-final round of the 100 metres and was forced to pull out of the 200 metres semis due to injury, said conditions were perfect for sprinting.
“The conditions in Barcelona were perfect for sprinting except for a little headwind here and there; but in terms of the temperature it was just right – not too cold, not too hot – so you are able to warm-up properly and get things done,” he said.
“I am still nursing the injury actually because injuries don’t just go away like that. It’s not hurting as much but I am still nursing it somewhat,” Greene added.
Asked what the rivalry was like between them, both athletes said that off the track they are the best of friends, but on the track, it’s all business.
“We do have our rivalry between each other because it’s track and field and we want to win. But on the other hand, Cejhae is my friend on or off the track, win or lose, and I would say it’s a friendly rivalry.
“Yeah, you could say it’s a friendly rivalry because we are good friends even from long time, but when it comes to (being) on the track, it’s every man for himself on the track because you want to do good but we are still good and close friends after the fact,” they said.
Former national coach Everton Cornelius, who is also responsible for the young Walsh, said that once everything is put in place to ensure that the current crop of athletes are groomed in a strategic manner, Antigua & Barbuda should reap international results in the next four years.
“I think once we really do what we have to do as coach and as association, as a country, if we are serious about these guys participating in 2016, I think that we definitely can look at a relay team and we can look at individual events where these four athletes, not barring that we may have “Bakka” (Daniel Bailey) and (Brendon) Christian, but at least we would have four additional athletes going to 2016 Olympics. I have no doubt in my mind once these guys stay the course that they would make it to the 2016 Olympics,” the coach said.
A hip injury forced Greene out of the semi-final round in the 200 metres sprints after he had qualified for the race.