By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Journalist
The first degree Chantel Malone completed five years ago was in Kinesiology, which is the study of mechanics of body movements.
That readily gave her a strong foothold into possibly becoming a doctor.
But the British Virgin Islands native later faced the tough task of having to choose between professional athletics and attending medical school.
“At the moment, I couldn’t do both Medicine and professional track. I would have been a doctor by now [if I had gone to medical school], but I choose to pursue my track dream,” she told BVI News Online.
“Of course it was a hard decision especially when it comes to financial security and stability. I went to college at 16 years old and graduated with my Bachelor’s at 20 years old. If I went straight to med school, I would have been in my residency programme now. I don’t regret my decision, because I love track and field. It is one of my passions. I refuse to stop until my goals are achieved.”
Malone’s decision eventually resulted in her making the finals of an international senior outdoor event – something no other British Virgin Islands athlete ever did before.
The would-be doctor created history this month when she reached the finals of the Women’s Long Jump at the 2017 IAAF World Championships.
She finished seventh out of the 12 finalists, who were selected from a total of 30 initial contestants.
Malone jumped a lifetime best of 6.69 meters, but missed the podium.
With experience now in her strides, she intends to jump onto the podium next time round.
Malone told BVI News Online that she developed a love for athletics when she was a child, running through the halls of Althea Scatliffe Primary School.
Her relationship with the sport continued all the way through Elmore Stoutt High, and then through the University of Texas in the United States.
Malone, over time, did not only compete in the Long Jump event.
She also tested her strength in other areas such as the Triple Jump, the 200 metres, and the 400 metres.
“I started to take it (athletics) seriously in high school and everything really took off from there. The rest is history! It has pretty much been a part of me for over half my life,” Malone said.
She is doing what she loves on both track and field, but her dream of becoming a doctor is not forgotten.
In fact, Malone has her sight set on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). “I definitely want to go to med school… I’m working on the MCAT and building my résumé,” she told BVI News Online, adding that she intends to practice in her homeland.
“I’ve always wanted to work with kids. I’m not sure what area, but, with my background in kinesiology, I always saw myself having a little clinic where I can give back to the community and also help with athletes in the British Virgin Islands.”
The 25-year-old, in the meantime, stated that she would like her compatriots to always be aggressive in the pursuit of their dreams. “The road will no doubt get tough. But, if you have a vision and a dream, don’t let anything or anyone detour you. Hard work pays off. Stay focused! Believe in your power! You are capable and you also have everything you need to succeed.”
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