Lerone Clarke carving his own niche in Jamaica’s track legacy

He won a gold medal as a member of Jamaica’s sprint relay team in Berlin in 2009 and as a member of the team at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Mayaguez in 2011. He is also the 2010 Commonwealth Games 100-metre champion and now the 2011 Pan American Games champion. Throw in silver medals in the 100 metres from the CAC Games in Cuba in 2009 and from the sprint relay from the 2010 Commonwealth Games and what you have is a very enviable collection of quality medals that 30-year-old Lerone Clarke has won over the past two years. This, in an era when Jamaica boasts five of the fastest men in history including the fastest man of all time, Usain Bolt.

History might not be kind to Clarke, who has come along in the wrong era when Jamaica is at its very best in the world of sprinting but one cannot deny that what he has done is significant. Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater have all run faster than 9.90 seconds, making them the elite of the elite in the world of sprinting. Clarke best of 9.99s barely makes him an elite sprinter but for his relative lack of speed he has managed to carve his own niche in what is this country’s rich legacy in the sport of track and field.

Jamaica currently owns every major 100-metre title there is to own; the Olympic 100-metre title, the World 100 metre title, the World Junior title, and the World Youth title. Jamaica also owns the CAC title, the Commonwealth title and now the Pan Am title. And notwithstanding the winning times 10.12s in India last year the slowest time ever to win the event since Donald Quarrie in 1974, and 10.01 in Mexico, Lerone Clarke owns two of those titles! History might be unkind to him but it certainly cannot forget him.

And to think that this young almost quit the sport a few years ago. Frustrated with the challenges of finding scarce resources with which to expedite his training striving for athletic success Clarke almost called it quits a few years ago. But one does not become Commonwealth champion or CAC champion if one does not possess an indomitable spirit. From what we have seen from Clarke is that he puts out his best when it matters most.

Clarke is also an example of Jamaica’s significant depth in male sprinting. The Commonwealth Games of 2010 and these Pan Am Games arrived on the calendar in late in the years prior to major championships. Because of the timing of the Games, Jamaica elite athletes have ignored these games in favour of preparing for the majors. And still without them there seems to be no stopping the country from taking the short sprint title. But as they say here in Jamaica ‘what no drop pan head drop pan shoulder’. Lerone Clarke may not be at the head of the class when it comes to Jamaica’s best sprinters, but he certainly has shouldered the responsibility playing his part in ensuring that Jamaica reinforces its dominance as the sprint factory of the world.

“I feel good. It seems I need to be running at this time of the year at all times,” Clarke said after winning his latest title in Guadalajara. “It’s very exciting to win two titles. This is going to make me more motivated and excited for the future.” Indeed he will and we should all be excited to be with him on his journey.

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3 Responses to “Lerone Clarke carving his own niche in Jamaica’s track legacy”

  1. Monica says:

    We all have our own niche, keep carving your own.

  2. gary wright says:

    jamaicans are really the heart of champions, life is like a race,we have to run ours and lerone continue run yours. I am PRODE to be a JAMAICAN

  3. Lerone dont matter the time as long as you win or even in the top three you are a jamaican legend in your own rights I see you burn the track in arkansa that race tells me you are ready for bigger things god bless

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3 comments so far
levyl Posted by: levyl October 27, 2011 at 8:23 am