Houston aims for a happy homecoming
Tre Houston has put the disappointment of Commonwealth Games behind him and is looking forward to a good showing in front of a home crowd on Friday night in the Bermuda Invitational Permit Meet.
Houston failed to reach the semi-finals of the 200 metres on Australia’s Gold Coast last month, but has now moved on and looking ahead to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which will signal his exit from the sport at the age of 30.
“Commonwealth is behind me, now I’m looking forward to coming out in front of my home crowd and to come out victorious,” said Houston during a workout at the National Stadium. “I’ll be facing some stiff competition but I’m not going to run away from it.
“It makes me feel good running against legitimate people, these are elite athletes.
“If you do your research you’ll see that they are very high-calibre athletes.”
Houston, who will run in the 100 and 200 metres, was referring to the likes of LaShawn Merritt, the 400 metres gold medal-winner at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and world champion in 2009 and 2013. Also in the 100 metres will be Jeff Demps, a former American football running back and track athlete at the University of Florida.
“All the excitement is being built up, not just for me but also for Jessica [Lewis] and Tyrone [Smith].”
After spending summer here, Houston will be based in Florida while preparing for Tokyo.
Lewis, who trained at the National Stadium yesterday with her new coach, Curtis Thom, will compete against Canadians Iana Dupont and Jess Frotten in the 100 and 200 metres para events and is looking forward to competing again on home soil.
Thom, recently retired from competing, will also race in the 200 and 400 metres. He will be in action alongside compatriots Alex Dupont, who won the gold medal for Canada in the T53/54 1,500 at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, and Isaiah Christophe.
“It is definitely interesting to go to a coaching from a personal relationship,” said Lewis of Thom, who took over as her coach last year.
“One of the key things is he knows a lot about the athletic side, he knows about the pressure you put on yourself. Last year was absolutely incredible with the amount of support we got.
“I’m just so lucky that I get to share wheelchair track racing with Bermuda, the opportunity doesn’t come around very often being the only person here.”
Thom says Friday’s competition will be his last on the track before concentrating more on the coaching side. He is no stranger to Bermuda, having been here several times before, and is looking forward to competing.
“I took Jessica on because her coach, my father, passed away and I’m helping her to keep going in the sport,” Thom said. “I kind of help others, we have a club at home that I help out with, but I’m more an assistant coach with them and a full time coach with Jess.
“It seems very supportive out here and I’m looking forward to seeing it for myself. I’ve been here a few times and the support I’ve seen is nice to see. I came here a long time ago to demonstrate the sport and Jessica got interested in it and has stuck with it ever since.”
Slight rain is in the forecast for Friday and yesterday’s breezy conditions also left Thom hoping for more suitable conditions for the meet.
“Hopefully it will be warm and with a little less wind,” he said. “Any rain is not good for us.”
The meet will start at 6pm, following the opening ceremony at 5.30pm with the Hamilton Town Crier. As well as Tyrone Smith, who will compete in the long jump, the other Bermudians in action will be Bruce DeGrilla, also in the long jump, and Berkeley Institute student Sakari Famous, competing again in the high jump.
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