Photo: Jevaughn Minzie throws up a prayer after finishing third in the 100m final in a personal best time of 10.02 seconds to book his spot on the Jamaican Olympic team to Rio next month.
The afternoon after Jevaughn Minzie claimed his surprise third place finish in the men’s 100m final at the Jamaican National Senior Championships he made his mission for 2016 perfectly clear. “In one way or the other I am on the Olympic team.”
The 20 year old wasn’t being brash or cocky. That proclamation was simply shared as a matter of fact by a young man whose performance during the championships has earned him a new level of confidence, he otherwise might never have found.
Minzie was not even mentioned by most of the pundits to claim a spot in the final, much more to be among the prediction for a top three spot and he could hardly find words to express how he felt.
“Firstly I have to give God thanks, he’s been the one with me, and for giving me three personal bests. I have to give thanks for my coach as well. I am feeling good, pretty good.”
Arriving at the championships with a 10.16 seconds best to his name, set back as junior athlete, the former World Junior representative wasn’t really on the radar and even he admitted as much.
But that changed as the rounds progressed. Minzie improved to 10.15 when winning his first-round heat before bursting into medal contention after a 10.07 seconds run in the semis that jettisoned him into final. His third personal best in two days was enough for a spot at the top three which he grasped with both hands as he finished with 10.02 seconds.
"My first Olympic trials and to make team. I can’t explain, I just have to give God thanks,” said a beaming Minzie.
The former Bog Walk High standout, who started training at the Racers Track Club after leaving high school, has not had the best of what could have been for the last two seasons, but he remains grateful that he was able to make the most of his first Olympic trials.
“Well you know it was a hard fought process to transition. But I thank God for helping me to make the transition and to come out here and make the Olympic team, it’s quite awesome.”
The Glen Mills conditioned athlete was quick to point out that he was anxious and filled with nerves prior to the commencement of the final, but thanks to a word of advice from his club mate and eventual race winner Yohan Blake, he was able to pull through like he did.
“I am not going to lie, I was nervous, really nervous. I was even telling Blake in the tunnel that I was nervous till my tummy was hurting me. He said it’s natural so I just have to do what I need to do. Just go out there and execute. So when (there was) the false start, I just had to get back together and keep the nerves calm and execute my race,” he noted.
Minzie will join club mates Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt as part of the Jamaican sprint team to the Olympics in Brazil.