Houston confident of making sprint finals at Pan Am
Bermuda sprinter Tre Houston insists he never considered pulling out of the Pan Am Games and believes he can reach the 100 and 200 metre finals.
Many athletes from around the region including several from Bermuda have withdrawn from next month’s Games in Mexico, which are being held during the off-season.
They believe sacrificing their recovery period to compete in Guadalajara could adversely affect their preparations for the 2012 London Olympics
But Houston said the Pan Am Games were always his back-up plan should he fail to qualify for the World Championships and has set his sights on a pair of personal bests.
“I always had it in the back of my head to compete (at the Games). My job is to go there and deliver something special for Bermuda and my family,” said the 21-year-old.
“I never thought about pulling out the Games as they were my back-up plan in case I didn’t make the Worlds.
“My main focus is to run a fast personal best in both the 100 and 200 metres and my chances of reaching the finals are very high for both events.”
In the absence of long jumpers Tyrone Smith, Arantxa King, Jasmine Brunson and the injured Aaron Evans, the only track and field athletes representing Bermuda at the Games will be Houston and heptathlete Shianne Smith.
Houston understands his team-mates’ decision to skip the Games although he admits being part of a full strength squad would have been a “great feeling”.
“I’m not disappointed there are just two of us representing Bermuda at the Pan Am Games,” said Houston, who leaves for Mexico on October 17.
“I mean, it’s always a great feeling taking a big team to the Games but people have different plans for next year because of the Olympic Games.
“Everybody wants to be well prepared and deliver great performances so I don’t blame them.”
Although the Olympics are less than ten months away, the London-based athlete doesn’t believe the Games will hinder his qualification chances or his preparation programme.
“I have a great feeling I will qualify for next year’s Olympics, I just have to remain focused and stay positive. I tell myself every day this is what I have to do so I can accomplish my long-term goal,” said the Commonwealth Games veteran.
“I’m in great shape now, I just have to remain in one piece for the Games and keep sending my prayers upstairs that things will go well.
“Luckily there are no meets left as the season is officially over, so I’ll just have to get on with the hard work and hope it pays off.”
Thousands of athletes from 42 countries, including 275 from the United States, will compete in 36 sports during the Games, the world’s second-largest sporting event after the Olympics.