Athlete Interviews

Exclusive Interviews
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Click here for Desarie at World JuniorsDesarie Walwyn, Nevis
Events: 100m/200m/400m
Interviewed on 20th July 2004, on visit to Nevis

Question: You decided to attend Rice University in Houston, Texas. What factors determined or influenced your selection?
Desarie: Probably the most important factor was that the University was small and academically, probably the highest ranking in the south, and it is a warm climate which may not necessarily be better for training but it is better for my body. And also the coach's experience ... the Head coach Mr. Lopez is a very experienced coach. So the coaching combined with the small class size and the academic environment, was a perfect combination for me.
Desarie at World Junior Championships, ItalyQuestion: You attended the World Junior Championships earlier this month. How was the experience and what lessons did you learn?
Desarie: The experience was probably a "once-in-a-life time" event. I was the only athlete to represent St. Kitts & Nevis, so that alone was a very great honour and privilege. Even though I did not make it into the finals and did not come back home with a medal, I took from that the experience, that may only happen once. And even in the running and not making it to the finals, as long as you feel that you have run to the best of your ability, then you can step off the track feeling proud. You can take that experience and learn to apply to the next race, which is what I tried to do.
Question: What competitions did you participate in this year and what were your best performances?
Desarie: I competed in some major meets for my High School in Houston, Texas, including the UIL Class 5A girls in Austin Texas. I competed in the 4x100 and 4x200, and this was the third year I participated, but it is the first year I haven't competed in an open race. I normally compete in the 200 but this year I got a chance to be a team player and help my teammates in the relay, which we finished in third place. And just before I went to the World Junior Championships in Italy, I went to the CAC Games in Mexico with some other athletes from St. Kitts and Nevis, to run in the 100 and 200 .... well i was supposed to run in the 100 and 200 ... but I only ended up running the 200, because I got there late and ended up finishing in 7th place overall. It wasn't my best time because my best times in the 100 and 200 (and I have run some 400s) have been 11.85s (probably about a month a go), 23.88s back in April, and for this year 56.1 (in the 400m) ... but I have run 55.8 before.
Question: What are your plans for 2005, in terms of achievements at the Collegiate and International level?
Desarie: I set very high standards for myself and so in that area ... there is a saying that if you shoot for the moon and you miss you may land upon the stars ... I'm going to set goals for myself. I want to be an impact athlete my freshman year and will try to be the conference champion for the 200. I know things like that may take time, but if you plan for that to happen and you fall a little short, then i think you will probably still be successful. In terms of achievement at collegiate level, I feel that I could come in and play key roles, not only in the open races, but also to help out our relays, to try to make it to Nationals, which is hopefully a goal in the 4x100m or 4x400m relays.
Since I just finished participating in the World Juniors, which was a good experience for the first time being there, I'm looking forward to being able to go back - which won't be for another two years. But next year, we have the World Championships and I can participate in the relay or open race, getting more exposure for International meets. I had the chance to go to Mexico this year for the CAC Games, and I am looking forward to that next year. Then you also have the Pan American Games. So you have a lot of big meets every year, not only nationally but internationally for exposure. I am going to try my best to run as strong as I can on the relay legs and to improve my personal bests in any open races in the meets for 2005.
Question: What are your long-term goals in Athletics?
Floyd Robinson & Desarie at Nevis waterfrontDesarie: I start college in August and when I finish in 4 years it will be another Olympic year. Our times were not yet good enough to qualify in any open event (except for Tiandra Ponteen in the 400m) and we really missed out on our chance for the relay. So hopefully in the next 4 years, under Victor Lopez training, and with some work on the technical aspects, hopefully I would have excelled enough to be able to compete on the Olympic level ... and even better on the National and International level, placing higher in meets and improving my personal bests. Four years is a lot of time for athletes to develop and grow, not only physically but also mentally, to deal with the exposure and competition level.
Questions: What were your thoughts and feelings when Kim won the 100m World Championships?
Desarie: That's a question I have been asked frequently in the last week ... Kim being from such a small island and being able to perform at such a high level at the World Championships ... I mean you don't really get bigger than that, other than the Olympics later this year ... its encouraging because it helps you to know that dreams do come true and to strive and set high goals, because if he can do it why cant you.
Question: What influenced your decision to become a citizen of, and to compete for St. Kitts - Nevis?
Desarie: I would say my Dad (Derie Walwyn) ... he was the No.1 influence and motivation factor ... since he is from St. Kitts/Nevis (really from Nevis) and he ran for Nevis and competed well and did good ... he still has a record at the High School to my knowledge .. he went to some big meets and you hear stories all the time .. so since I go to school in Texas .. its like wow, you kinda get tired of hearing all of his stories ... like you can try your best to live up to it but you really can't because you are an American and not able to compete in the same environment - so I was really happy when I got the opportunity to become a citizen (of St. Kitts/Nevis) and I felt it was a very great privilege and honour to run and represent the same country he ran for. I will try to compete to the very best of my ability and hopefully everybody will be proud.
Question: What will be your major at Rice and will there be a specific focus area?
Desarie: My major at Rice will be Psychology because I plan on going to Law school after. The first two years will basically be Maths and Science, and the next two years will be my major ... and because I want to go to Law school, I felt that it's a perfect fit - because Psychology is into understanding people and their minds and the way they think, and what better area to major in if you want to be a lawyer and deal with many people than what they think with their minds.
Question: What influence did your father have in your career to date?
Desarie: A very big influence because growing up, he took the more athletic role and mom took the more academic role, so having them "specialize" in two different areas worked and was a perfect fit for me. I'm going to Rice on Track but I would not be able to get in if my academics were not up to par. So he basically taught me how to strive for what I wanted; to accomplish my goals; that anything was possible; that nothing was out of my reach, and he played a pretty good coaching part ... sometime too much so, that he had to step out of the picture, and let somebody else coach me, because it was ... like ... I don't know ... like he was too involved per say ... too many emotions ... mixed ... but he was real hard on me and sometimes I didn't understand. But since I am getting older and I see myself doing better in sports and it has led to a scholarship in Track, I am very thankful for all the pushing and striving that he has given me, because now I am able to understand it as it pays off in the long run.
Question: What advice/suggestions do you have for "upcoming" Track and Field athletes in St. Kitts and Nevis?
Desarie: The only advice that I can really give them is to strive for their goals and dreams, because Track & Field is a sport where you run and practice, then turn around and run to compete in a meet. We run all the time and at times it gets really hard ... but nothing in life worth having comes without a little hard work. So even though it gets hard, keep persisting and striving because in the end its going to pay off.
Des at ticket booth

A star on the horizonVirgil Hodge, St. Kitts
Events: 100 & 200m
Interview on 4th Jan 2004
Question: You decided to attend Texas Christian University (TCU). What factors determined or influenced your selection?
Virgil: Well first of all, the academic program is very highly ranked amongst the NCAA Division 1 Universities in the U.S., and secondly, the athletic program produced the fastest man in the world, Kim Collins.
Question: You attended the World Championships earlier this year. How was the experience and what lessons did you gain from it?
Virgil: The experience was great. I learnt that there is much room for improvement and progress in my athletic career.
Question: How are your preparations progressing for the 2004 season?
Virgil: Well I am training much harder and also looking forward to competing at the college level at TCU, where I hoping to improve my times in the 100 and 200 metres to make the qualifying standard for the 2004 Olympics.
Question: What are your plans for 2004, in terms of competitions you hope to attend & achievements at the college level?
Virgil: Well I am looking forward to qualifying for the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, and most of all the World Indoor Championships in Hungary where I am looking forward to qualifying for the 60m
Question: What are your long-term goals in Athletics?
Virgil: Hopefully I will be able to go to at least 4 Olympic Games and medal in all four.
Questions: What were your thoughts and feelings when Kim won the 100m World Championships?
Virgil: Well I was not there at the stadium, but I felt that it was a great achievement from someone from the small twin island country of St. Kitts and Nevis, and it showed me that I can also achieve that same goal - my heart was so overwhelmed.
Question: What will be your major at TCU and will there be a specific focus area?
Virgil: My major is International Business and my main focus is Travel Business. I am hoping to start my own travel agent business.
Question: What advice/suggestions do you have for "upcoming" Track and Field athletes?
Virgil: My advise to all upcoming athletes is to stay focused and always remember that no matter how hard life may seem and things may seem impossible, you can do it if you put your mind to it. Stay in school and stay away from drugs. Dreams are "for real" - All you have to do is believe.
Virgil runs for TCU in 4x100 relay



14/05/06 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NATHANDRA JOHN - "It was the best feeling I ever had"

Ques: What were your reaction after running 52.31 in the finals?

Nathandra: First of all I was expecting to run fast cause i know the track was a fast track....but i wanted to qualify for nationals, so i feel this was the chance for me to do so.

Another thing was that my teammate Deborah Jones had just broken my record which I set last year at the Conference USA championships. She ran 52.82 in the heats. Then I thought to myself this can't go down like this today. I have to take it back. So I went home to sleep on that and then came back stronger the next day ... fresh and ready for them.

It was just how I pictured it ... I kept saying to myself I want a lane behind them (& I got lane 4) because I run best that long as they are ahead of me, I can (know) what they are about to do. So if they go out hard I do the same but with control ... if they went out slow I know. I was long way better than them so I had to make my move.

By the time I hit the last 150m to go, it came down to the strongest one wins ... and that's my favorite part of the race, because I have a lot of heart and determination. I just started sprinting like hell not seeing anyone close. I crossed the line in 1st place with a time of 52.31sec.

It was the best feeling I ever had. However 10 minutes before my race went off, I spoke the World Champ Kim Collins over the phone because I was feeling kinda down ... because my record had been taken away. I remember saying to him that I think I can win this race and I want to go at least 52 mid. He said to me "you think". He said the race is yours, you "gon" win. After that inspirational talk, every negative thought was blocked and I saw the win. Nathandra TCU Biography


14/05/06 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DELWAYNE DELANEY - "It was a good expereince for me running at such a high level"

Ques: What was your experience at the recent MWC Championships?

Delwayne - 200m: It was a good experience for me running at such a high level. I really was pleased going into the finals of the 200m knowing that I had something to prove and to get under 21 secs.

100m: The 100m is taking a while to come around so I might have to shift my focus and energy to the 200m for the remainder of the NCAA year. But that is a decision that will come after consulting with my coach and others.

RELAYS: For the 4x100m relay, we just went out to dominate being the favorites. We ran a season best and that is good for us as the big meets of the year is fast approaching. On the other hand, I feel like we lack a lot of energy in the 4x400m, because of the long weekend with all the different events. So we just gave it what we had and came up short ... but we know we are one of the best in the Nation with regards to the 4x400m and we know when its time to bring it we will be the first in line. Delwayne TCU Biography

15/05/06 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH VIRGIL HODGE - "I can do great things for myself and my country"

Question: Let’s take the 100m first, 10.24 represent your personal best - how did u feel about your effort?

Virgil: First of all, I must say that the track was a great track to run on … by the time I saw it, I knew I was going to run fast times on it for the 100m and 200m … so I just did everything I was doing in practice … from the blocks to the finish … to help me through my race and stay focused.

Question: Take the 100m first, talk your race?

Virgil: I felt really proud of myself when I looked up and saw the time it was actually 11.21s … that came up when I was done, but it was changed to 11.24s because of the altitude we was running, at which was 5,000 feet.

Question: Did u feel the effort?

Virgil: I really did not have any stiff competition, so I felt it was a good time to do what was right for my race and just run as fast as possible without fighting myself.

Question: Your 200m was awesome … current World #10 … did u think that was possible?

Virgil: Well I did think it was possible because I had ran 22.87s at my TCU home meet with a 3.2 m/s wind and I knew that I could run below 23 without any wind at all .. as my coach said to me … prove to other people who don’t think that you can run 22 without the wind .. that you can do it. I went to conference with one thing on my mind that I was going to run between 22.60 and 22.80 … so that was my goal and I came short a little … but I think if I had competition I would have definitely run anywhere between those times.

Question: Tell me your emotions when you saw the time?

Virgil: I was overwhelmed …. just the fact that it was under 23 and that I had broken the Meet record and the St. Kitts-Nevis record. I was just hoping it was below the wind limit and it was so I was more exciting when I saw there was hardly any wind. It was no surprise because I knew that I could do it after running 23.04 in the heats the previous day.

Question: You have 2 big meets coming up - what are your projections?

Virgil: Well for the Regional meet, I am going to compete in both races … my aim - top 2 ... and I am looking forward to running faster in both my races. I want to be going into nationals as a top-dog instead of an under-dog, because I need people to see me on the track and fear me as any other athlete who are on the top list, and I want to show them that I am just as good as any body at the national level. For Nationals, I am looking forward to run my fastest ever and be in the top 3 in each race …. if not win both of them … cause I know that I have that capability to do so.

Question: What your plans for 2007 and beyond?

Virgil: Well now that my times for both my races qualify me for 2007 World Games, I am looking forward for that, then the 2008 Olympics. I am ready to step up in the big meets and perform at a professional level and be in the finals of all my races. Well I can do great things for myself and my country … just like the man Kim Collins himself, and hopefully I can achieve greater things and make every one who have helped me get to this point proud.