Rusheen McDonald

GLOBAL SUCCESS: Trinidad and Tobago’s Asa Guevara, right, and Jamaican Rusheen McDonald in battle during the IAAF World Relays men’s 4x400 metres final at International Stadium Yokohama, in Japan, on May 12, 2019. T&T won the race, with second spot going to Jamaica. —Photo: BAHAMAS ATHLETICS/KERMIT TAYLOR

Competing for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, Asa Guevara produced an impressive run at the B3R Sports Youth Track & Field Invitational in Florida, USA, on Saturday.

Guevara got to the line in 32.55 seconds to secure silver in the men’s 300 metres event, behind his Bahamian training partner Steven Gardiner, the reigning 400m world champion. Gardiner clocked a fast 31.95 to grab gold and the Bahamas national record.

Lalonde Gordon is the Trinidad and Tobago record holder at 31.92. With his very first official 300m run, Guevara moved into fourth spot on the all-time T&T outdoor performance list, behind Gordon, Ian Morris (32.27) and Renny Quow (32.36). Jereem “The Dream” Richards is the T&T indoor record holder with a 32.10 clocking.

Saturday’s outing was Guevara’s 2020 opener and his first run since performing leadoff leg duties for T&T in the IAAF World Athletics Championship men’s 4x400m final in Doha, Qatar, last October. He combined with Richards, Deon Lendore and Machel Cedenio for fifth spot. In May, last year, the same quartet struck gold at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced Guevara to wait almost nine months for his next outing, following the Doha relay. “Covid-19 restrictions here,” the Florida-based athlete told the Express, “affected my training by us losing all access to the facilities. The track which we mainly use was closed, and to this day we still haven’t regained access.

“Although we didn’t have a track, we were determined to stay active and in shape so we would hop around to different grass fields and parks to get a workout in,” adding, “The soccer fields we found were eventually closed, but we didn’t let that stop us. We had to travel further to find a spot to train. It was a little difficult, but coach Gary Evans made it happen.”

The gym where Guevara and his Empire Athletics teammates do strength training was re-opened in late May. “The restrictions eased a few weeks ago, where we were allowed to get a track for two days out of the week to train on. But we still haven’t gotten back to the main track just yet. The ease has definitely made a significant impact on training, finally getting back to the track. It felt a little weird getting back in spikes, but as time went by that feeling went away.”

Guevara is determined to make his Olympic debut in Tokyo, Japan, next year. “For the 2021 season, I have some goals on and off the track that I plan to achieve, one being representing Trinidad and Tobago in the 2021 Olympics. It’s definitely a dream so I am working diligently towards it.”

The 24-year-old quartermiler said that postponement of the Tokyo Games, from 2020 to 2021, is a plus. “It’s always good to have the extra time to work on different areas of my overall fitness. Right now I am focused on staying healthy, both physically and mentally, so when it’s time to shift gears,” Guevara ended, “I will be ready.”

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