Nathaniel Mathura

UNLEASHING THE SPEAR: Nathaniel Mathura is about to unleash the spear in the Pan Am Prep Meet 2 Men’s Under-20 Javelin event at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, yesterday. Mathura threw 60.30 metres to finish second. Anthony Diaz won with a 60.55m effort. Both Mathura and Diaz bettered the 59.48m Pan American U20 Championship qualifying standard. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Anthony Diaz and Nathaniel Mathura bettered the Pan American U20 Championship Men’s Javelin qualifying standard at the Pan Am Prep Meet 2, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, yesterday.

Diaz topped the field with a 60.55 metres throw—well beyond the 59.48 standard. Mathura also produced a qualifying effort, the El Dorado East Secondary thrower landing the spear a personal best 60.30m.

Two Sundays ago, Diaz had achieved the standard at the Pan Am Prep Meet 1, the Point Fortin New Jets athlete winning with a 60.96m throw. Mathura was second at 57.25. Yesterday, he improved by more than three metres.

“Training this week,” Mathura told the Express, “was a bit more focused on competing and getting better and fixing the technique and speed, and that’s exactly what we did. I accomplished what I set out to do today. And I had fun. I enjoyed my meet.”

Mathura had achieved the Pan Am U20 standard back in March at a National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago (NAAATT) Track and Field Series meet. The 18-year-old threw 59.49m to beat the standard by just one centimetre. Yesterday, though, he was well past the qualifying distance.

Mathura is coached by Cuban Ismael Lopez Mastrapa, the man who guided Keshorn Walcott to Olympic gold in 2012 and Olympic bronze four years later. Mathura said he is very grateful to be a beneficiary of such expertise.

“It was my dream once I started to throw javelin and I met this coach to train with him. I wanted to be at that level that I can train with one of the most recognised coaches around the world. It’s a great feeling to train under him. It’s just amazing.”

Mathura said it has been tough maintaining his focus in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“My coach and my family keep on pushing me to stay focused, stay healthy, eat right and everything. It was really really challenging with only three meets for the year, and then a few months without competition with the lockdown, having to train at home and stuff. It was really difficult, but God helped me through and I made it.”

Diaz and Mathura are expected to be named on the T&T team for the October 22-24 Pan American U20 Championships in Concepcion, Chile.

“I intend to throw further at the meet in Chile,” Mathura declared, “further my personal best.”

Aaron Antoine was also a Pan Am U20 qualifier, yesterday. As he had done at the Pan Am Prep Meet 1, the Neon Wolves athlete achieved standards in the Men’s Long Jump and High Jump.

In the High Jump, Antoine cleared the Pan Am U20 qualifying height of 2.00 metres on his third attempt. He then knocked down the bar three times at 2.10.

In the Long Jump, Antoine disturbed the sand at 7.15m—seven centimetres further than the 7.08 qualifying distance. Savion Joseph produced a 6.96m leap to finish second. Jean-Jon Matthew jumped a wind-aided 6.13m to secure third spot. Matthew also had a legal 5.81m effort.

Reneisha Andrews captured the Women’s Under-20 sprint double. The Cougars athlete won the 100 metres in 12.26 seconds and the 200 in a wind-assisted 25.51.

Concorde’s Revell Webster topped the Men’s Under-20 100m field in 10.84 seconds. And in the 200, Kengell Christopher was first to the line in a windy 21.99. Christopher’s UTT Patriots teammate, Josiah Rayside was second in 22.40, with third spot going to Diaz in 22.54.

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