Akeem Stewart was relieved to have raised the bar in the shot put event at the Falcon Games over the weekend, not least because he set a national record, but also because he has completed a successful comeback from injury.
The first time he ever broke the national record in the shot put event was in Trinidad and then he broke it in Tobago in 2016, then he broke it again in 2019. Stewart threw a distance of 20.12 metres, which bettered the previous record of 19.96 metres.
In an interview with Tobago Sports Live, Stewart said, “I’m satisfied with my performance, knowing that I’ve just come back from a major injury and that showed me having faith in your coach and being committed to training goes a long way.”
Stewart made the qualifying distance earlier this year to book his ticket to the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru taking place between July 26th and August 11th. He will also represent T&T at the Parapan American Games between August 23rd and September 1st happening in the same country. Once again, the T&T record-holder proved that he could compete alongside able-bodied athletes. Stewart went on to say, “This just shows that although people consider me as a para-athlete, I am still able to compete against the regular guys and do well so that’s just motivation for me in this 2019 season.”
He was also relieved to be back at the Dwight Yorke Stadium for the Falcon Games after the facility had been out of service for some time. He said the local crowds play an integral role in inspiring his performances, while the logistics of getting to meets and going back home are a lot easier than when he has to travel to Trinidad for a competition.
Stewart continued, “Having the home crowd support is a major key for me. At the end of the day, field events wouldn’t get the type of attention track events would get, but when I’m home I know I will have sufficient rest. I know I will have enough time to come to the stadium, unlike when I go to Trinidad, I have to travel and that takes a long time for me. It doesn’t make me a bad athlete or a better athlete, but I always feel comfortable competing at home.”
He is now targeting the Arizona Desert Classic in May as his next major competition.