In what he hopes to be a successful close to his career, veteran sprinter Jerial Forbes is actively putting the work in to make a final run and once again represent The Bahamas.
Forbes has been in the track and field game for 25 years now. After a number of successes in that time span, Forbes is now in a more reflective mood in his final year of competition.
Some may ask what his motivation was to come back this year and prepare vigorously at this stage in his life?
Motivated by last year’s disappointment at the Olympic Trials, Forbes believed he had to come back and prove to himself if he could prepare for a successful campaign without any hiccups.
“Last year at the Olympic Trials I pulled up (hamstring) and I had a big meet the following weekend in Nova Scotia, Canada. And with that happening I was not able to fulfill or bring out my full potential,” he said, “But nonetheless I’m prepared to go out there at Senior Nationals (June 23-23) and do what I got to do to make the World Championship team.”
Forbes revealed he has a number of meets leading up to the World Championships, which are set for August 4-13 in London, England.
Forbes has three upcoming meets on his docket to determine what condition he’s in to make the team for April’s IAAF World Relays (Bahamas).
“I’ve got emails asking me what kind of fitness I’m in right now and I’m just waiting to put it on paper.”
Injuries can obviously be nagging. Forbes admitted that last year would have been his year to retire, pending the success of actually making the Olympic team.
The manner, in which he came to a complete halt, left Forbes to think that he did not achieve what he wanted to do.
His 25 years of competing has had a number of high and low points, by his estimation. One of those top highlights for Forbes goes back to 2001, after being away from the track since 2000.
“I think it was my comeback year – being out from 2000 and coming back in 2001 trying to perform and not being at that level. Then I came back in 2002 at the World Junior Trials and winning.”
Island Sports continues to be a big thing among the “track and field heads” on Grand Bahama. But as Forbes recalled, his final year in Walter Parker Primary, one of his fondest memories came against an Olympic Champion for The Bahamas.
“Not being too vivid in Grade 6, my last year in Walter Parker we had Island Sports and at that time Island Sports was really like a huge thing. And this was my first year hearing about Michael Mathieu. I kept hearing about him and everyone was saying he was going to beat me that year in the 200-meter dash. And I was like yeah we’ll see.
“I went out there and I ran … that was the first person to ever push me, ever in any race. As a youth I was dominant as an athlete. Those things were stuff that led up to me continuing and to keep on moving and keep on pursuing.”
After primary school he transitioned into high school, attending Tabernacle Baptist Christian Academy.
Forbes went on to recall a stretch where he was one of the only Grand Bahamians in the finals of the 100m at the Senior Nationals for six to seven years, consistently.
The low points came for Forbes when there were times he made national teams, but did not get to compete.
It’s 2002 and Forbes is on the roster for the World Juniors. Forbes represented The Bahamas as a member of the relay team. It was also the year that arguably the greatest sprinter of all time began to break out.
Yet, it was a time Forbes was not afforded the opportunity to compete due to a teammate’s injury.
“We made that team to compete in the relay against some of the fastest athletes that’s still around, including Usain Bolt, which was his break out year when his confidence built.
“And with the 2002 World Juniors and us not being able to compete, because of an injury to Grafton Eifel in his 200m dash against Bolt in the finals, that took away our opportunity to compete at the World Juniors. So that was a high point and low point for me.”
Forbes has also competed in Europe and on the American Circuit for a number of years.
Now in the twilight of his career and a number of achievements under his belt, Forbes reflected on the persons that helped him along the way.
“First of all I want to thank God. Without Him the strength, the ability, the God given talent I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it. I wouldn’t be able to travel for The Bahamas or do anything.
“My family, they supported me from day one. They always wanted me to have the best and always wanted me to do my best. They tried their best to push me into everything I wanted to accomplish.
“The late Basil Neymour – he definitely was a mentor to me. He definitely pushed a lot of our young Grand Bahamians in the right direction. A lot of us have to give thanks to him and Mrs. Neymour.
“She played a big role in telling him ‘hey it’s for the kids, even if you got to take a pinch here in the quarter.’ At the end of the day, he pulled out all he could have done and he definitely is missed. He was one of those persons that made sure that I matured in the sport the right way.
“I want to thank Joe Simmons and Rodger Charlton. Under Basil Neymour’s Athletics they were my strength and distance coach and my speed and stamina coach. They did phenomenal work. They got me ready for meets in a matter of no time, with the help of coach, the late Errol Bodie,” said Forbes.
“He would format the workouts and they would carry it … he was watching every day; the progress. He and Basil Neymour those were the reasons, I’d say, I made the World Juniors team in 2002.
“I have to thank Attorney Fred Smith. He’s always been there talking to me, guiding me and giving me good advice. Emile Alledae, he’s also a businessman and looked out for me over the years and was a strong assistance to me. Kent Osman from PestCo, he’s definitely been a supporter to my athletics.”
He went on to thank his doctor who helped him with past injuries Dr. John Bartlett, coach George Williams out of North Carolina, Coach Trell Kimmons, coach Audrick Lightbourne of Speed Begins, who Forbes credited for his most recent comeback.
“He’s an amazing coach and anyone who has been under his wings has accomplished amazing things. He’s an element in the reason why I’ve stayed in the game for so long and came back for a period of time, which is now.”
Forbes concluded that he wants to use the years of knowledge he had attained and put everything into practice on the last leg of his career.
His upcoming events include a meet at the University of Miami on March 25 to run in the 200m and 400m. He’ll head to the Pepsi Florida Relays on April 1 and compete in the 4x100m and 4x200m and finally, he will head back to Coral Gables at the University of Miami April 7-8 to compete in the 100m and 200m.
Published Wednesday, March, 15, 2017