Emanuel Mayers

ONE-LAP HURDLER: Trinidad and Tobago’s Emanuel Mayers. --Photo: CURTIS CHASE

Emanuel Mayers has fond memories of the 2013 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Track and Field Championships in Morelia, Mexico.

Mayers struck gold in the men’s 400 metres hurdles in 49.72 seconds. He also teamed up with Renny Quow, Machel Cedenio and Jarrin Solomon to claim top spot for Trinidad and Tobago in the 4x400m relay.

“I thought the clock was broke when I ran that 49.7,” said Mayers. “That felt way faster.”

Mayers was speaking during the latest episode of the online series, “Athlete Talks”. Mayers and sprint hurdler Mikel Thomas were the guests, while the hosts were retired quarter-miler Zwede Hewitt and 2013 400m hurdles world champion Jehue Gordon.

Mayers considers the 2013 CAC Championship meet to be the highpoint of his career.

“Renny Quow, Jarrin Solomon, Emmanuel Callender. Having people like that on the team brought a certain energy. You can just watch them run and feed off of it.”

Solomon grabbed 400m gold, while Callender earned bronze in the 4x1 relay. Wayne Davis II picked up silver in the men’s 110m hurdles. And Lalonde Gordon did the same in the men’s 200.

“Jarrin goes out here with this killer instinct,” said Mayers, “saying ‘I’m going to win this 400’. And just feeding off his energy, I was like ‘I’m going to go into this final and I’m going to win it.’ And Wayne Davis, he was my roommate. He was having a killer season in college and was preparing for Worlds. I was feeding off of his energy as well.

“When the gun went off, I just kind of locked into this mindset. You just have this feeling in your body. It’s flowing and you’re just going over those hurdles, and it feels almost effortless. When you come down the home stretch, you cross the line, and you realise you won an international medal … you did what your country expects of you and you’re proud of yourself.”

The focus then shifted to the 4x4 relay.

“There’s competition,” said Mayers, “but when you have somebody like Jarrin saying ‘we’re not losing today; just give me the stick’. That kind of attitude. And you have somebody confident like Quow, who has been running these solid first legs, and he tells you ‘Manny, you got this; I’ll make sure you got the lead’. If you hear that from your teammate, all you have to do is your job.

“Having that leadership made that meet so much better. We were in Mexico, not the greatest place in the world to be, but we celebrated, we enjoyed ourselves. And I know it just wasn’t me. A lot of people went out there and performed to a very high standard. Lalonde Gordon ran 20.2 in the 200. We’re on fire. When you feed off the energy, it makes it a lot easier to win.”

The career low point for Mayers came at the 2008 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Mideast Regional Championships in Arkansas, USA. A freshman at Mississippi State University at the time, he finished eighth and last in the one-lap hurdles, and did not qualify for the NCAA Division 1 Championships.

“Very few times in track and field I cried. I felt I was just that good of an athlete and I couldn’t put the race together. I shed some tears. And my coach was like, ‘Hey Big Daddy, you got to get ready for the 4x4. Put them tears away.’ It seemed like he didn’t care, but it wasn’t that. It was more of a lesson that the show goes on. We’ll have time to focus on your race later. Get your mind right.”

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