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Houston gears up for final run at Rio

Keeping his cool: Houston believes he can qualify for the Olympics in two events (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Tre Houston will make a last-ditch effort to qualify for the Olympic Games 100 metres at the Blue Marlin Last Chance Meet in Nassau, Bahamas, this weekend.

Houston was the first Bermudian athlete to qualify for the Rio Games, posting a personal best in the 200 in 20.42sec at the Texas State University Friday Night All-Comers Meet in June last year.

Although he has plenty of work to do to hit the qualifying mark of 10.16 — his personal best is 10.28 — Houston has not given up and believes having the 100 up his sleeve in Rio would enhance his chances in the 200.

“This is my last chance to meet the 100 and I believe I can do it,” Houston said.

“I don’t press, I don’t panic and at the very least I should be able to set another personal best and a new national record.

“It would be a plus for me to qualify in both events. If I could do a 10.0 in the 100 [in Rio] I know I’d really be cracking in the 200.”

Although the sand in his egg timer has all but ebbed away, Houston does seem to be hitting form at the right time after setting his personal best in the 100 at last month’s Aliann Pompey Invitational in Guyana.

In order to qualify in the 100, Houston will have to finally shatter the 20-year-old national record of the man who is helping him prepare for Rio.

DeVon Bean, the island’s sprint coach, set the still-standing record of 10.27 in Glendora, California, in 1996 prior to competing at the Atlanta Olympics.

“DeVon was happy when I got so close to his record,” Houston said.

“He was like, ‘Damn, just one hundredths of a second shy of my record’. He is willing to help me get it and it’s been there for more than 20 years.

“These are the things you’re in the sport to do: win medals, break records and leave a legacy.

“You want to set the bar for the youth and then for them to reset the bar again — that’s the way it should work.”

Houston, 26, said there was still room for improvement after his personal-best display in Guyana, where he finished third at the National Track and Field Centre in the West Coast of Demerara behind race winner Phil DeRosier, of United States, who clocked 10.25 and Kyle Greraux, of Trinidad and Tobago in 10.28.

“I was down in Guyana having fun and when I ran the heats and shot down the last 60 metres I was like, ‘Damn, 10.4, I’ve got at least a 10.2 in my tank’,” he said. “There were a few things I did wrong and I think I could have ran a 10.1.

“If I’m there in the first 30 metres I can set myself up and I’m so much more in the race.

“I’m strong so I can run people back, but I can’t afford to do that with people like [Usain] Bolt and [Yohan] Blake. You can’t do that with those guys. You have to be there with them.”

Houston will also compete in a meet in his namesake city in the US, where he is based, this month although he will only perform the 200.

Also in action at the Blue Marlin Last Chance Meet this weekend are Bermudian middle-distance runners Shaquille Dill and Dage Minors, and Kyle Webb who is preparing for this month’s North American Central American Caribbean Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador. Lamont Marshall is also hoping to qualify for the 3,000 steeplechase in Bahamas.

The Olympic qualifying deadline is July 11.