Setting the pace

When one thinks of Pacers Track Club, one thing comes immediately to mind and that is success.

Over the years Pacers has produced several top Barbadian athletes, perhaps too many to mention, but a few names come to mind that include CARIFTA Games triple medallist Janelle Inniss and Dwayne Greenidge. Not to forget Shane Brathwaite who started his journey in track and field with Pacers and later went on to capture bronze in the 110m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Head coach of the club Anthony “Palance” Williams during an interview with Barbados TODAY said the club had come a long way, even though they were often faced with financial problems and were in need of sponsorship. Williams said he could not be more proud of the club’s progress and achievements since its inception in 1995.

Pacers coach Anthony 'Palance' Williams (standing third left) having a chat with a few of his club members
Pacers coach Anthony ‘Palance’ Williams (standing third left) having a chat with a few of his club members

“With all the challenges that we have faced over the years I can say I am proud of Pacers’ achievements over the past fifteen years,” said Williams, who has a good support team of coaches that include Stephen Taitt who deals mostly with the sprinters and Lennox Ellis who is in charge of the long distance athletes.

Approximately 70 members are in the club including four females and recently they returned home from the Hampton International Games in Trinidad and Tobago where they did very well and came back home with a total of eight gold, two silver and four bronze medals. Two of those gold medals were captured in the 100m and 200m by 15-year-old Matthew Clarke of Combermere.

Speaking of top athletes, middle distance runner Anthonio Mascoll is not to be forgotten. Mascoll was among the crop of athletes who ran a season’s best of 1.50.77 in the 800m at the Trinidad meet. Mascoll who has been out of competitive track and field action for the past two years told Barbados TODAY: “I feel pretty great since being back home [from the United States] for the past three months and this is where it all started.

Anthonio Mascoll working on his 800m starts.
Anthonio Mascoll working on his 800m starts.

“My coach ‘Palance’ took me on and I started hitting the gym and I started seeing progress. Then we decided to go to the Hampton Games to run my eight hundred meters and even though I was nervous I just left it in God’s hands and I went out there and ran a season’s best which puts me on target to qualify for the World Championship.”

Nationals are scheduled for June 19th to 21st and where that is concerned Mascoll said he was ready physically but will have to work on his mind-set a little more.

“Due to the fact that I was not training for a couple years I still have to get the competition mind-set back  and it is just a mental thing for me right now in terms of competing and feeling my rhythm,” Mascoll said.

He admitted that he previously wanted to quit track and field but thanks to his Pacers family whom he praised for their encouragement, he was able to stay focus. He said at Nationals he would be looking to go under a time of 1.48 in the 800m but his ultimate goal was to take part in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Another bright spark from Pacers is former St Leonard’s Boys student and 400m hurdler Kion Joseph who is back home on holiday from Iowa Central Community College and he is also preparing for nationals. Like Mascoll, Joseph is happy to be back home working hard on his technique for nationals and putting last year’s third place finish behind him. Joseph has his mind set to retain his title in the 400m hurdle which he is looking to run a time of 50 seconds and in the 400m flat 47 seconds.

The club also has Thorrold Murray who is perhaps the only Barbadian high jumper clearing the bar at 2.20m and he is also gearing up for nationals. Murray said his eyes were definitely set on jumping 2.27m in a couple days time.

“I eased off of competition because there was no competition and this is my first meet back out for the year, so I will see how it goes. But my goal and my aim is the 2016 Olympics which means I will have to jump 2.25m which I know I can jump. All I need to do is work on some strength training,” Murray said confidently.

Coach Williams assured that his club has been training hard for the entire year and all they have to do now was fine-tune themselves in preparation for nationals. He however pointed out that even though the club continues to do well they were in need of some much needed funds and would like corporate Barbados to come on board and assist the club where possible.

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