Juma Mouchette said with at least one college looking at him, he is buckling down with his studies: “I already have the track ability so it’s now time to focus on my grades so hopefully I can earn a scholarship.” *File photo by Ras Mykkal
Juma Mouchette said with at least one college looking at him, he is buckling down with his studies: “I already have the track ability so it’s now time to focus on my grades so hopefully I can earn a scholarship.” *File photo by Ras Mykkal

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21: Juma Mouchette has a proud legacy in track and field. His dad, Wayne, is an inspiration to the young Berkeley student.

Although Mouchette is just 16, he has already been to three Carifta Games and brought back his first medal when he finished third in 2010 with a time of 4:12.82 in the Boys Under-17 1,500 metres.

He wants to parlay his track and field ability into a college scholarship, and, hopefully, an Olympics.

Don Burgess spoke with the future marine biologist about running and his future dreams.


How did you get your start in track and field?

My momma and daddy signed me up for races on the weekend and I started beating everybody else. I won Whitney’s cross-country championships so my momma and daddy decided to sign me up for Pacers. My daddy (Wayne Mouchette) used to run.

What was your first Carifta like for you?

I was very nervous. At the time it was the biggest track meet I had been to. There were a lot of people there and a lot of noise. I really didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t do too well, but it was a good experience for me.

How did you feel after when you won a bronze medal at Carifta in 2010?

I felt like I was one of the best. It was a good feeling standing on top of the podium in front of all those people and there was a beating of the drums.

What are your feelings about Bermuda coming to Bermuda in 2012?

There’s pressure just because it’s in front of my home country. I’m working harder this year so I wouldn’t do badly in front of my friends. I don’t want to do badly in front of my country.

What do you hope to achieve through track and field?

I hope to earn a track scholarship. I hopefully will qualify for the Olympics and do my country proud.

Are you looking at any colleges you hope to attend?

My cousin is an college scout and he said there is a college that is asking about me, but he hasn’t told me which one yet. When he comes back to Bermuda he’s going to talk with me about what colleges would be best for me.

Which local track and field athletes inspire you?

I have a lot of pictures of my daddy around my house. I also like watching Lamont Marshall run and Chris Estwanik.

Which international athletes do you admire?

Bernard Lagat and Asbel Kiprop (gold medal winner from the 1,500 metres at the Beijing Olympics). Kiprop runs much like me. He stays behind everybody and kicks on the last lap. That’s what I like to do when I’m running. I feel if I study him a little bit more I can improve.

When did you think you might have a talent at running?

When I was in middle school I went away to back-to-back meets with Pacers and I broke a record in Philadelphia, then I went to the East Coast Invitational and got all first places there. When I got back to Bermuda I said ‘Hey, I’m pretty good at this. I’m beating people from the States’ so I decided to stick with it.

How important is it to beat people from other countries?

Being the best in Bermuda is one thing, but you’re running against the same people every track meet. When I go away I can see people who look bigger and stronger. When I beat them, it lets me know that I good enough to compete on the world stage rather than just in Bermuda.

What do you want to have as a career?

When I was younger I always wanted to be a football player but now I’ve been looking at becoming a marine biologist or come back and be a track and field coach. I like animals. I like watching the Discovery channel and the National Geographic Channel. I also like being in water.

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Carifta Countdown