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Young Achiever: Young athlete dreams of Rio

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Natural talent, dedication and a great coach have set athlete David Darrell on a track to success.

The 17-year-old Warwick Academy student is a multiple Front Street Mile winner, has just qualified for his second annual Carifta Games, and he hopes to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

“My dream is to go to the Olympics,” he said. “The next Olympics are in 2016 — I need to do some research into my times to see if it is realistic. If I don't qualify for 2016, I can see if I can go for Olympics in 2020.”

When Darrell started out as an athlete he used to just “get up and run” until two of his Purvis Primary School gym teachers noticed a talent in him. Tall, thin and naturally athletic, he impressed on the track and his teachers were “puzzled” to find out he was not part of any training group.

They instantly convinced him to join the Pacers Track Club where he really began to hone his talent.

Darrell said he would give the same advice to any young runners looking to perform at their best.

“If a child shows a keen interest in training and they show some talent, they should go to a good track group. Train hard and maybe later on you can go your separate way or continue with the club.”

A humble character, Darrell says that, despite his talents, when he found out he had qualified for Carifta the first time around he was “very, very, very surprised”.

“Qualifying for Carifta was a good feeling. It was my first year and I wasn't trying to go out and try and win — it was in the back of my mind, but it was mostly about getting a bit of experience.

“Two years before, I had hit a low point with my running. I lost some interest but then I got my new coach George Smith and he introduced me to more technical training. Before that I was running around the track a lot but it wasn't doing much to develop my body.

“Right now Che Smith is one of the top runners in Bermuda and I train with him. Having a better person who has been overseas and done more international events — he is a good local role model for me to look up to. He knows what he is supposed to be doing to take him to the next level and I want to do the same thing really.”

Darrell hopes to clock some personal bests in the year ahead, aiming to run 1,500 metres in less than 4 minutes 10 seconds and his 800 metres in under 01:55.

He believes that Bermuda's national athletes would benefit from closer collaboration, especially in the run-up to major sporting events such as Carifta.

He said: “In the future we need to be a bit more specific in our training where we have a national programme may be a few times every month so all the national athletes, especially coming up to something like the Carifta games, all come together and train together.

“There are a lot of groups and all the groups are separate and we don't seem to like to train together. In other countries like Jamaica — a month or two before, the entire team is just training together.

“It will make our athletes a lot more competitive with each other and that in turn will make them more competitive overseas.”

Darrell's determination is not limited to track and field. He was identified by Orbis as a promising young student and was chosen to receive the company's much sought-after scholarship. He moved into the public school system, joining Warwick Academy at middle school level.

He is succeeding academically and is progressing well with his violin studies. But all this success has not gone to his head — packing groceries to earn a little is not beneath him and he has been packing bags at Supermart since the age of 12 — something he says not only gave him funds but also a sense of confidence.

Young Achiever, David Darrell. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Young Achiever, David Darrell. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Young Achiever, David Darrell. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published March 23, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated March 23, 2015 at 9:15 am)

Young Achiever: Young athlete dreams of Rio

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