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Donawa torn between two loves

Justin Donawa, the Junior Male Athlete of the Year, accepts that the day will come when he will have to choose between his two loves: football and athletics.

The 17-year-old, who excels at both sports, attends Berkshire School in Western Massachusetts, where he is recognised mostly for his footballing prowess.

It just so happens that Donawa is also Bermuda's most gifted young triple jumper, winning a gold medal at the 2012 Carifta Games and placing seventh at the World Junior Championships in Ukraine last summer.

For the moment, Donawa is simply enjoying competing at both sports, although his decision, which will surely be made sooner rather than later, will inevitably leave one of the two national governing bodies brokenhearted.

“I really love football and track and field — it's almost a shared love,” said Donawa, who was recognised for his superb 2013 triple jump season at the Government Sports Awards last Saturday at The Fairmont Southampton.

“I'm actually away in school because of football, which I'm still very focused on.”

Donawa, now in his final year at Berkshire, has attracted the attentions of college scouts in the United States representing both sports.

While keen to keep his options open, the Somerset Trojans winger admits that he is veering on making football his priority.

“People have been asking me for years about what I'm going to do, football or track,” Donawa said. “Recently, I decided I would to try and focus more on football at college.

“But track and field coaches from the same soccer schools have also contacted me. I'm open to doing both at college although I think I will focus more on football.

“I'm just keeping my options open and I will obviously still be trying to do my best at track.”

Sporting excellence seems to be written in Donawa's DNA, with father Jay one of the Island's most prominent distance runners.

Donawa Jr also shines at cricket for Somerset Cricket Club and has been a reserve for the red-and-blue end of the Island at Cup Match.

“I love playing cricket but I just like playing for fun,” Donawa said. “I just so happen to excel a little bit in it.”

The affable youngster, who is coached by Brian Wellman, Bermuda's former world indoor triple jump champion, still has plenty on his track and field plate in the coming months.

“I'm hoping to compete in the National Championships and hopefully qualify for the World Junior Championships, which are being held in Eugene, Oregon, this year,” he said. “That's my next big event.”

Tough choice: Donawa

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Published March 26, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 26, 2014 at 1:43 am)

Donawa torn between two loves

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