Chas Smith. *File photo
Chas Smith. *File photo

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23: Chas Smith has an analytical mind. The Bermuda international high jumper aims to represent his country well when we host the Carifta Games in April. He is looking to add the long jump to his Games resume, having already qualified for the Boys U-20 high jump.

The Warwick Academy IB student has been inspired to succeed by a variety of adults who have taken their time to encourage him to be his best.

He tells Don Burgess about his track and field dreams and aspirations.

How did you get into track and field?

I became involved with track and field as a regular school student participating in the interschool track and field competitions. Following the 2008 Beijing Olympics there was much excitement over Usain Bolt and I fell into the excitement, looking to train to become a sprinter. I started with the Flyers Track Club as a sprinter, with Ms Donna Watson giving me my first training opportunity in a club.

Why do you do the event(s) you do?

I do the high and long jump because I have an inner desire that pushes me to be the best jumper. In addition to this, coach Euler saw my potential in high jump and arranged for me to train with coaches Akilah and Rohaan, to strengthen my jumping. I believe that when you enjoy doing something and you have the desire, you tend to stick with it.

When did you think you might have a talent at track and field?

I first realized that I had talent in track and field during my primary school gym lessons. I was told that I had a natural ability in high jump. My primary school gym teacher, Ms. Rickards, initially recognised my ability and offered to coach me during my lunch breaks. Then in high school I had much support from my gym teacher, Mr. Thorne, who encouraged me and is still encouraging me.

What was your first Carifta like for you?

My first Carifta was one of the best experiences of my life. I competed on the Sunday and Monday night. It was a good feeling being amongst many great athletes and being able to represent my country. Even though my performances could have been better it was a wonderful event and I am now ready and geared for next year.

What does it mean to you to have Carifta in Bermuda next year?

To have Carifta in Bermuda means quite a lot to me. This is my home country and I now feel pressure to be the best, and hopefully medal. I have already qualified for high jump and look to qualify in the long jump. I am moving up an age group this year and therefore the competition will be stiffer but I am training extra hard, striving for the best so that I can represent my country well.

Which Bermuda track and field athletes do you admire and why?

The BTFA athletes I most admire would have to be Brian Wellman and Tyrone Smith. I admire Mr Wellman due to his passion for the sport, not only with him being a world champion but he knows what it feels like to be on the top and tries to coach that greatness into his students. When I look at Mr Wellman I see a winning attitude and never doubtful love for the sport, which is what I aim to have throughout my career, hopefully leading me to a world record! I admire Tyrone Smith simply due to his rate of success and consistency. I look forward to seeing him in the 2012 Olympics in London, knowing he will represent Bermuda well.

What’s the best piece of running advice you ever received and who was it from?

The best piece of running advice I have ever received is from my coach Euler and that was that “if you tense and feel like you are running fast, you are not. But if you are relaxed and concentrated, although you may feel like you are running slowly, you are not.” This was a great piece of advice because it not only changed my running but also my jumping, causing me to concentrate more on the task and less on how it was being done.

Which international track and field athletes do you admire and why?

Irving Saladino of Panama and high jumper Ivan Ukov of Russia. I admire them simply due to their sheer ability and concentration. They are both champions in their respective events.

What do you want to do with your track ability?

I want to continue with track and field in university, my ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

What do you want to have as a career and why?

I want to become an engineer because I am analytical and enjoy technical thinking. I am currently enrolled in the IB programme, taking higher level sciences. My goal is to one day make a positive contribution to the world of innovation.