Patience paying off for Forbes
Patient progress and two turns of fortune have put Antonio Forbes within reach of his second ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championship gold medal in the 400 metres hurdles.
When the action begins next on Tuesday, the slim Kingston College hurdler will enter as the fastest Class One hurdler in the nation by a considerable margin.
After a slow start to his 2023 campaign, Forbes approached his personal best at the Carifta Trials on March 4, with a fine time of 50.68 seconds. His runner-up finish was the latest chapter in his ongoing battle against Roshawn Clarke, the 2023 Boys’ Championships and Carifta winner, who escaped to win in 50.52 seconds.
“I feel very happy based on the time that I ran. Over all my years running with Clarke, this has been my first time actually getting so close to him. So I’m very proud,” said the 2021 Class Two winner.
Last year at the Corporate Area Championships, the Carifta Trials, Boys and Girls’ Championships, the difference was often as much as two seconds. Forbes is much closer now.
That, however, isn’t the only reason the Rahnsomn Edwards-coached hurdler is happy. He started the season with a tentative return from injury to win at the Central Hurdles and Relays at 53.03 seconds. He steadily improved to 52.40 and 52.11 before the Trials where he hurdled past the 51 seconds time bracket altogether.
This accomplishment has the 18-year-old Forbes focused on his personal best, set last year at 50.48.
“It feels very nice because I got to move past what I’ve done last year because I completely skipped out 51 and jumped right to 50,” he quietly noted at the Trials.
By now, he and coach Edwards would have polished his choppy Trials race.
“I’ll be working on my technique because I kind of lost it a bit because I’ve been stretching over the hurdles and I’ll be trying to correct my shuffling over the hurdles,” he promised.
WINNING THE BRONZE
Clarke won’t be in Forbes’ way next week as he left Camperdown High School after winning the bronze medal at the World Under-20 Championships and gave up his final year of high school eligibility. In addition, the outstanding Shamer Blake is reported to be injured and missed the Trials completely.
Second at Champs to Forbes in the 2021 Class Two final, Blake has been in immaculate form this season. He clocked 50.9 seconds to win the Western Championships title on the grass of his home track at St Elizabeth Technical High School.
With Clarke gone a year early and Blake a doubt for next week, Forbes is in pole position with Tyrece Hyman of Edwin Allen High being the only other schoolboy under 52 seconds. Hyman clocked 51.77 for third at the Trials.