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Boldon: St Fort ready to rule
Four-time Olympic medallists and coach of sprinter Khalifa St Fort, Ato Boldon, is convinced she is ready to take on the Caribbean’s best at today’s start of the 2016 Carifta Games in Grenada.
Citing the work they had put in and her consistency on the track, it was now up to the young athlete to decide how badly she wanted to be in winners’ row.
He told the T&T Guardian her Carifta trials time of 11.39, was better than the team expected. They had her timed to run 11.40.
“The reality is, that my athletes are never going to run fast in January, February, March, April, May, not relative to what they’re going to run in the summer. Last year, she started at 11.80 and eventually got down to 11.19. So this year, she is starting at 11.39, so we feel very good. Beating the Jamaicans would be tough; that’s every year, but I also don’t put my athletes in a situation where they are going to fail,” Boldon said.
“So, we are ready for the challenge from the other islands and I am particularly looking forward to the challenge from the young Bajan who just ran 22.61, a second faster than she (Khalifa) has ever run in her life. She has her work cut out for her and like I tell her all the time, if it was easy anyone could do it. This is not going to look like the Carifta trails. This is the Caribbean’s best and we know how strong the Caribbean is in track and field. She will be challenged, but she is ready for it.”
In a direct response, St Fort underscored her commitment to the task and assured the people of T&T of her clear desire to make them proud.
“The mindset I have is the same mindset I have for every single race. I go out there and perform my best. I put in the work during practice. I pray on it. All I can do is go out there and run my best,” she said.
Boldon recalled his early days with St Fort almost two years ago, after meeting her father. Back then only St Fort’s father and Boldon could see her potential.
“Khalifa came from a situation in South Florida where she was actually the overlooked and forgotten one on the team. She was the one kind of cast aside as the step child. When I saw her and met her, saw her work ethic, saw her passion and her commitment for what she wanted to be, it changed the entire direction of my life. At the time I was getting offers to go and do other things in television. I had to essentially make a decision to commit to her or pursue my own goals,” he said.
“It’s the best decision that I could have made because she has not only proven me right, but more importantly and more rewardingly, everybody has sort of figured out what I have always known about her. So now, more than she ever she has ever felt before, she is one of us and the people who she represents are firmly behind her.”