By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Staff
While several persons including Premier Dr D Orlando Smith gathered yesterday to celebrate Kyron McMaster for his world-leading run of 47.80 seconds in the 400 Metre Hurdles, McMaster shone light on the persons who long have been standing in the shadow of his growing success.
The hurdler’s eyes appeared filled with tears as he acknowledged his coach Dag Samuels.
“I want to stand here today (May 22) and say that I love him and I thank him for all the accomplishments that we’ve done, and this is just the beginning of something really [good]. We have much bigger plans ahead of us,” McMaster said at a congratulatory and welcome home ceremony last evening.
The 20-year-old athlete returned Sunday night from a track and field meet in Jamaica, where he became the fastest person this year in the 400 Metre Hurdles. He also is now the 28th fastest 400M hurdler of all times.
“To my parents – many, many times me and my father bicker a lot because he used to say ‘track is gonna take you, but you have to focus’. Sometime I maybe was not focused a lot; so he used to be on my back a lot… And [I also want to thank] my mom for changing my meal plans, because I used to eat a lot of junk food and now she has me eating healthy.”
Moments after his world leading run on Saturday night, the young athlete told the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper that he was motivated by the victory.
“It makes me feel very good as I have been having a good season so far, as my season’s best coming into the meet was 48.69 seconds, done in Gainsville, Florida, where my time was number three on the world list. Now I am really motivated to continue working harder, as now I will be a targeted man.”
Tourism and Olympic glory
Premier Smith, who is also minister with responsibility for tourism, used the platform at the event yesterday to describe McMaster’s performance as telling.
“I was very impressed,” Premier Smith added.
“Sports tourism is one way to get us on the map in terms of tourism. I expect that [people] could be reading about the BVI… And hopefully they would want to come and see the place where this little boy grew up,” Premier Smith said while he boasted that he was the doctor who delivered the star athlete as a babe.
Meanwhile, minister responsible for sports Myron Walwyn, in his remarks, challenged McMaster to ‘break the glass ceiling’ for other athletes in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
“He mentioned to me that he is also concerned about the other athletes as well – and things that we can do to make things better for them so they can reach the level that he’s at… I said to him: ‘I am going to say something to you Kyron that might sound selfish, but I’m not being selfish; I’m showing you something from a different perspective. Sometimes when you’re going somewhere, you can’t carry everybody with you one time. It’s too much weight for you to carry sometimes.”
“I said to him that, those behind, ‘I would hold the strain for them, but the most important thing that you can do for persons that you want to bring along is to break that glass ceiling’. That’s what I said to him,” Walwyn further told the audience gathered at the Central Administration Complex in Road Town.
He expressed hope that McMaster will win gold at the next Olympics.
“I am saying to you, ‘go out and break that glass ceiling and bring home an Olympic gold medal here for the people of the Virgin Islands! I believe with ever fibre of my being that you can do it and you will do it,” Walwyn further said.
Other persons who spoke at the event included BVI Athletics Association head Steve Augustine, as well as head of the BVI Olympic Committee Ephraim Penn.
While they touted McMaster as a future medalist in major athletic championships such as the Olympics, they called for continued Government support.
“Government continues to support the BVI athletes. I hope that Kyron’s accomplishment here today reinforces the need for you to continue to support the BVI athletes,” said Augustine, while he also called for support from corporate BVI.
Augustine also noted that the manager for the world’s fastest man – Usain Bolt out of Jamaica – already has expressed an interest in managing McMaster.
The athlete’s father, Anthony McMaster, told BVI News Online on Sunday that his son is already doing some work with Norman Peart, who is Bolt’s manager.
The elder McMaster also noted that Bolt’s manager was the one who encouraged the young athlete to compete in the Jamaica Invitational, where be beat a powerful field to set the fastest time this year.
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