By Horace Mills, BVI News Online Staff
Kyron McMaster, who also is a truck operator, threw down the gauntlet in Jamaica’s National Stadium on Saturday when he recorded a world leading 47.80 seconds in the 400 Metre Hurdles.
The victory reverberated throughout the champion’s homeland – the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which is only now leading the world in an athletic event.
Joycelyn McMaster wants her son’s achievement to be an inspiration to other athletes in the territory.
“Kyron is trying to open up opportunities for other athletes to excel also,” she told BVI News Online. “This is an inspiration for other athletes who really want to push themselves and go to the next level.”
Topping off the achievement is the fact that Kyron defeated his biggest rival Jaheel Hyde of Jamaica, at the National Stadium in Jamaica; and on a track where some of the world’s fastest men and women sent their first serious message to the athletic world.
“I think people are especially proud of the fact that he actually beat the Jamaican in Jamaica,” said Kyron’s father, Anthony. He laughed.
“There is no word to explain how we are feeling. We are feeling very ecstatic because our son has done something positive for the territory and for himself.”
Mr McMaster said his son’s performance on the weekend was not a surprise. “When he was beginning the season, he said before the season closes he was going to hit 47 seconds. He is on target with what he said he was going to do.”
Now, the highly supportive family is backing the territory’s star all the way to London this summer. “I suspect, at World Championship in London, he is gonna bring home a medal – the first medal of that nature and magnitude to the BVI,” added Mr McMaster, who also is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works.
Left college with injury
One of the turning points in Kyron’s career was noticed roughly a year ago after he returned home from college prematurely with a back injury.
“Kyron left Central Arizona College [in the United States] because, after he got injured, they wanted him to continue running even though he was injured,” Mr McMaster explained.
“We made a decision that his health was more important than a scholarship they had given him for running… I think he realized that, for them, it wasn’t about him. It was more about what accolade the school could have gotten as a result of his hard work.”
Kyron brought much pride and joy to the college during his short time there. “He became the indoor champion in his division and the national champion. He basically took the school and put them on the top in the collegiate round for that category. They told him he should stay online, but then he started to focus solely on the running,” added Mr McMaster.
Kyron did not allow his setback – including his back injury – to slow him down when he returned to the BVI.
He trained harder.
“When he came back home, he was training as though he was on a job. He would leave home in the morning after 7 o’ clock, and sometimes he is back home after 7 or 8 in the evening. He would train in the morning, take a break for lunch, and then resume his training in the afternoon,” the athlete’s father further told BVI News Online in an exclusive interview.
He stated that his son’s coach for several years, Dag Samuels, worked non-stop, and steered Kyron to the World Junior Championship in Poland last year.
The youngster created history for the BVI when he won the bronze in 49.56 seconds, and also set a new national record as well as a new personal best.
“It was surprising because nobody expected that he would have recovered so fast and be able to run,” Mr McMaster said.
When Kyron finished third in Poland last year, Jamaica’s Jaheel Hyde was defending his title with victory in 49.03 seconds. Hyde is the same person Kyron finally trounced in Jamaica last Saturday.
“Kyron just continues to grow from strength to strength. Every time he goes outside to compete, he improves his time,” the youngster’s father noted.
Truck driver or athlete?
Kyron is known for his superb talent on the track, but his parents said he has another passion – one that many people perhaps are in the dark about.
“He really loves his truck; that’s his baby,” the athlete’s mother told BVI News Online.
But the 20-year-old now faces a dilemma of sorts.
“His manager [Norman Peart] told him that, if he is serious about athletics and wants to go all the way, he has to put the trucking aside. That’s something we are still trying to figure out. They said the truck – the gravity and the momentum and the vibration and whatnot – it counteracts your muscles with the training you are doing in athletics,” Mr McMaster explained.
“Kyron has a three-yard truck, and you know trucking is hard – lifting stuff, moving them, and whatnot… But that’s how he makes his living.”
According to Kyron’s parents, the youngster has been in love with trucks and athletics since he was a child.
He was actually four years old when he started to participate in athletics. At that age, he also became the youngest male to run in the H Lavity Stoutt Community College Classics.
Now, 16 years later, the youngster’s parents beam with pride as he transforms into an international star.
“As a parent, I am thinking that Kyron is still 20 years of age; so he is still very young and needs to enjoy his youth. But, at the same time, you have to protect him because, at this stage, there is all sort of negativity out there,” Mr McMaster noted.
He, along with his wife, described Kyron as being humble, quiet, hard-working, honest, and persevering.