When Donald Thomas persevered at 2.30 meters, based on a cleaner series of jumps to defeat Australian Brandon Starc for the gold medal on the first day, Saturday, of the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czec Republic, he cemented another excellent year among his elite peers.
At the end of the hot competition between two of the world’s best high jumpers, Thomas was entitled to feeling quite satisfied that he had cemented one of his finest seasons in an illustrious career. At 34, he is still capable of beating his regional and international rivals. He said as much in an article by Bob Ramsak for the IAAF.
“It was an absolutely great competition. It’s a different feeling when you represent The Bahamas internationally. Look, I became world champion nine years ago and I’m still here able to win at major competitions. Could I be ‘more’ happy?”
We communicated afterwards as well and Thomas emphatically said: “It feels good to win here.”
So, he turned 34 on July 1 of this year, and at what is considered old age for a high jumper, Thomas, amazingly, is consistent at attaining the highly recognized standard height of the upper elite performers, 2.30 meters (7-6 ½).
This year, he won the Central American and Caribbean Games gold medal for the second time (he won before in 2010). He placed third for bronze at the NACAC, 10 days later. Two weeks ago, he finished fifth at the IAAF World Final. He capped 2018 on Saturday with a golden effort once again.
This season, he has best jumps of 2.32 meters outdoor and 2.31 indoor, demonstrating an impressive consistency. He has soared to personal bests of 2.37 meters (7-9 ¼) outdoor and 2.33 (7-7 ¼) indoor. Thomas and the Eternal One Chris Brown are easily the two most decorated male performers in Bahamian track and field history.
With the 2019 season on the horizon, the 2007 World Champion now sets his sight on another age-defying campaign. Of course, the 17th version of the IAAF World Championships is scheduled to be staged, September October 6 in Doha, Qatar.
Then, there is the 2020 Olympic Games, set for Tokyo, Japan. Already, he has had a career of superb proportions, and continues to take his body to the limits and come away with gold in high class fields. It must be noted also that Thomas has become the elder statesman of Bahamian athletics in every sense of the term.
He still demonstrates the characteristics of preparing mentally and physically for high performances. Thomas is a mentor for sure, but also, the one who looks far beyond his personal competitive responsibilities. He looks out for the welfare of fellow Bahamian representatives, as he did at the CAC Games most recently, when he provided health beverages for fellow teammates.
Donald Thomas, the West Grand Bahama native, has indeed, evolved into a golden human being.
The Bahamas is blessed to be able to boast such a son of the soil.
Continued best wishes.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp at 727-6363).