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Reinvigorated Sakari Famous flying high

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Sakari Famous (Photograph supplied)

Sakari Famous’s confidence is soaring after breaking her national indoor high jump record at the McNeese State Indoor Meet in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The Bermudian successfully cleared 1.81 metres competing for McNeese State, eclipsing her national record of 1.77 metres achieved in 2019. She also broke the school record of 1.79 metres, which she produced en route to claiming the gold medal at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships three years later.

Famous’s impressive display was the fifth-best mark in conference history and the 21st-best in the United States this season.

“It’s always an amazing feeling being able to beat a record,” an elated Famous told The Royal Gazette. “It just shows that I’m still improving and have the capability to go and reach higher heights later on in the season.

Sakari Famous (Photograph supplied)

“I’m so glad to have accomplished a goal this early in the season and I look forward to continuing the momentum of great jumps.”

Famous set the records on the way to a third successive victory since returning to competition after suffering a stress fracture to her back just over a year ago and she claimed top spot on the podium at the LSU Purple Tiger in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Samford Invitational in Birmingham, Alabama, last month.

Bermuda National Athletics Association president Freddie Evans hailed Famous’s recent achievements exploits and her resilience at overcoming a potentially career-ending injury.

“I am very appreciative in respect of Sakari’s resilience,” he said. “She’s coming off a devastating back injury that could have been debilitating. It literally could have ended her athletic career and people with less fortitude would not have tried to come back.

“She had to teach herself how to jump again and to get over the fear of injury as she injured her back last indoor season that sidelined her and made her miss the Pan American Games and possibly not jump again.

“So for her to go through the whole rehabilitation, to get her mind right to attempt high jump again and then take it to a new level of excellence breaking her own record speaks volumes about her determination and her fortitude. She’s one tough cookie and we are really, really proud of her and glad she’s back.”

The 24-year-old was on a roll before her injury after winning six successive meets for her university team during the previous indoor season.

Famous continued her smart start to the year after finishing runner-up with a best effort of 1.79 metres competing at last weekend’s Vanderbilt Music City Challenge in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I was excited to compete in Nashville,” Famous added. “It was a track meet that included great competition and I finally got to experience how it feels like needing to compete to be top three.

“I didn’t have much expectations but to continue to strive for big heights. I had fun and enjoyed the taste of competition.”

Sakari Famous (File photograph)

With her confidence restored, the former Junior Female Athlete of the Year award winner, six-times Carifta Games champion and Commonwealth Youth Games bronze medal-winner is now looking forward to the remainder of the year.

“My goals for this year include having fun during my last semester competing for my university,” Famous said. “While having fun and enjoying my sport I believe that other athletic goals will follow, such as breaking the outdoor national record, winning my conference and competing at the NCAA Championships.

“With a great collegiate season, I believe a great season competing for Bermuda can occur.”

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Published February 16, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated February 16, 2024 at 8:26 am)

Reinvigorated Sakari Famous flying high

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