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Famous aiming to rise to new challenge

Coach Rohaan Simons is confident Sakari Famous can achieve a personal best at the Youth Commonwealth Games this summer in the Bahamas (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Sakari Famous hopes to reach new heights when she competes at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas this summer.

The promising high jumper is aiming to eclipse her personal best, which stands at 1.80 metres, at the sixth edition of the Youth Games.

Rohaan Simons, the Bermuda National Athletics Association jumping coach, is confident the teenager can achieve her goal.

“Sakari is looking to go 1.80-metres plus at the Youth Commonwealth Games and I don’t see any reason why she can’t,” Simons said. “All Sakari wants to do is to keep improving, and I know she can do it.”

The Youth Commonwealth Games will take place in Nassau from July 19 to 23 and will feature more than 1,000 athletes between the ages of 14 and 18.

It is the first time in more than 50 years that a Commonwealth Games event has been held in the Caribbean, the last being in 1966 in Kingston, Jamaica. Famous underlined her potential at the recent Carifta Games in Curaçao where she won the bronze in the under-18 high jump to keep her streak of medalling at every Carifta Games she competed in.

The Berkeley Institute student won a third successive bronze with a leap of 1.71 to extend her Carifta medal tally to five, having also won silver at the 2014 and 2015 Games in Martinique and Bahamas.

Making Famous’s medal-winning exploits all the more impressive was the fact she earned a spot on the podium despite having to endure a number of setbacks leading up to the Games.

“Sakari’s jumps were fantastic even though she’s had a really rough beginning of the season,” Simons said.

“She hasn’t been able to train consistently due to illness, injuries and schoolwork and the weather. We had some horrible weather, which prevented us from training consistently enough for her to be on the highest level.

“She was visibly upset [to finish third] but I told her how proud I am and let her know that for the type of season she’s had I would take the bronze medal and be very proud of it because she could have come fourth.”

Famous’s development is being monitored closely by overseas college scouts who are keen to have her join their athletic programme once she graduates from high school.

“Sakari has been on college radars since 2014,” Simons said. “There’s plenty of colleges out there looking at her right now, so she has the world at her feet and I know she will reach all of her goals.”