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Simons: Famous will be a miss in Cayman

Rohaan Simons, the Bermuda jumping coach, admits Sakari Famous will be a miss at the Carifta Games in Cayman Islands, but says he supports her decision to rule herself out.

Famous, who co-captained the island's team in Bahamas last year when she won her sixth Games medal, is not available for next month's trip to Cayman because of school commitments at the University of Georgia, where she is a freshman.

The 19-year-old hinted last year that her availability would depend on her college commitments.

“I've always known this was a possibility, however, I'm sad that I can't attend Carifta this year,” Famous said yesterday. “It's an environment that I have been the most comfortable competing in, since the age of 13.

“I remain grateful for my past experiences. I intend to focus my energy on improving my college level performance, which has been a bit difficult. Like anything in life, there are challenges and I appreciate all of the support that I continue to receive from everyone.”

Simons believes Famous made the right decision in putting school first, passing up the opportunity to compete in her final Games. She will no longer be eligible when Bermuda host the competition next year.

“She's always going to be a miss; Sakari has been an integral part of the set-up since the first time she went to Carifta,” Simons said.

“With Sakari not being there as a leader, someone who has been there through the good times and the bad and somebody who can give that inspirational talk to the youngsters; that's definitely going to be a miss.

“It wasn't a surprise; it's tough with Sakari dealing with the collegiate schedule and getting her bearings. You have to put those things in perspective. Carifta is a stepping stone to collegiate life.”

Simons keeps in regular contact with Famous, following her progress on the UGA track team. “She has to look at things in a different way,” he said. “[College] is definitely an adjustment. She has a lot of goals and when you're not achieving the goals right away, it can affect your jumping.

“She is strong and trying to tough it out, but sometimes you need to concentrate on one thing at a time.

“Some people might say, ‘Why not go to Carifta and try to perform there', but it's just not that simple when dealing with collegiate life and being on a full scholarship.

“That adjustment period

Simons said. “With Sakari not being there as a leader, someone who has been there through the good times and the bad and somebody who can give that inspirational talk to the youngsters; that's definitely going to be a miss.

“It wasn't a surprise; it's tough with Sakari dealing with the collegiate schedule and getting her bearings. You have to put those things in perspective. Carifta is a stepping stone to collegiate life.

“[College] is definitely an adjustment. She has a lot of goals and when you're not achieving the goals right away; it can affect your jumping.

“Some people might say, ‘Why not go to Carifta and try to perform there', but it's just not that simple when dealing with collegiate life and being on a full scholarship.

“That adjustment period could be the make or break of your collegiate career, sometimes you just have to stay there and stick it out. I stand by her decision; it definitely wasn't an easy one.”

Amelia Othman, 15, is the only high jumper among 17 athletes who have qualified for the Games, which will be held from April 20 to 22.

“Amelia is very calculated and cool under pressure and she learnt a lot during the two years she was with Sakari,” Simons said. “A lot of Sakari has rubbed off on Amelia and she has the same type of spirit and calmness.”

College commitments: Sakari Famous

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Published March 21, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated March 20, 2019 at 10:58 pm)

Simons: Famous will be a miss in Cayman

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