Sanaa Rae Morris hits the ground running
Sanaa Rae Morris made a blistering start to the season competing for IMG Academy at the Virginia Showcase Meet in Norfolk, Virginia, at the weekend.
The sprinter ran a personal-best time of 41.54sec in the 300 metres and also earned a trip to the podium, having helped her school secure the bronze medal in the 4 x 200 metres relay competing indoors at the Virginia Beach Sports Centre.
“Great start to the 2021 track season,” Morris, 16, said. “This meet was my very first meet of the season, and I’m very proud of my overall performance.
“I can’t wait to test my potential for other meets coming ahead of me, and to strive for greatness during my track career.”
Morris’s impressive exploits on the track earned praise from coach Jean Carlos Arroyo.
“After 320 days of not being able to compete, it was great to see Sanaa out doing three events,” he said. “Sanaa had a solid first leg on the 4 x 400, with a split time of 58.3, and came the second day with a 25.4 4 x 200m relay split.
“A mixture of delays and an extended day at the track made it hard to come back late for 300m, but she ran a solid 41.54 to record a new PB for the indoor 300m.
“Using this meet as evaluation after Christmas break and 320 Covid virus days, I would consider it a success.
“Expectations as a team were met for all relays and Sanaa will start her individual events now to start qualifying for all the big meets later in the year.”
Morris is absolutely thrilled to be back in action after the global Covid-19 pandemic put her career on hold.
“My overall highlight of this meet was being able to have the opportunity doing what I love most, which is running,” she said. “I missed track during the Covid lockdown because I am so passionate about track.
”First race in 320 days took a little getting used to, but felt natural to get back in the swing of things.“
The Bermuda Pacers Track Club athlete maintained good fitness throughout the shelter-in-place restrictions.
“I stayed in shape during Covid as much as possible, although the National Sports Centre was closed,” she added.
“I ran on the Bermuda College field and did at-home workouts, approximately four days a week while back home during Covid from February to August, before returning back in the rigorous IMG programme.”
Morris is in her junior year at the IMG Academy, which is a preparatory boarding school and sports-training destination based in Bradenton, Florida.
She has made steady strides since earning a bronze medal with Bermuda’s 4 x 200 metres relay team at the 2019 Carifta Games in the Cayman Islands.
When asked of her short and long-term goals, Morris replied: “Upon graduating, hoping to find a university to continue development of the sport and eventually qualify for the Olympics.
“In the meantime, I hope to represent my country in Carifta.”
Morris has met the Carifta qualifying standard in the 200 and 400, which are her speciality events.
Bermuda was scheduled to host the Games last year which were postponed because of the pandemic. Organisers then rescheduled the annual event for the Easter weekend, April 3 to 5.
However, a recent spike in cases, both in the United States and in Bermuda, has raised concerns for the host country and the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association about the ability to stage the Games in less than three months’ time.
Among a list of proposals outlined in a survey organisers sent out to respective federations last month, to obtain their input on key issues surrounding the event, was the possibility of staging the Games in late June or early July instead.
The deadline for the survey expired on January 8.