Twenty-year-old Jamaican sprinter Oshane Bailey could not have chosen a better venue than the National Stadium in Kingston to officially introduce himself to the track and field world as another star on the horizon. His performance of 10.14 secs in the 100m at the 2010 Jamaican national trials on June 27 was a lifetime best that saw him capturing the 100m crown, beating a quality field that included Olympic and World Championships sprint relay gold medalist Michael Frater, World Championships sprint relay gold medalist Lerone Clarke and Kimari Roach.
All eyes on Oshane Bailey (in green) as he anchors
Calabar to victory in the 4x1 relay at the 2009 Penn Relays.
The absence from the nationals of the Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake should in no way minimize Bailey's feat. The former Calabar High School star sprinter then continued his introductory tour on Saturday, July 3 at the Hampton Games in Trinidad, where he posted a personal best of 20.72 secs in the 200m to take second place. Yesterday, Bailey lowered his personal record to 10.11 (1.7w) for silver at this weekend’s three-day NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean) Under 23 Championships in Florida.
In his last 100m race as a Champs athlete in 2009, Bailey failed to get out of the blocks in the final, slipping and falling flat on his chest as the starter’s gun set them off. Coming into the 2010 season, the 5ft-6.in Bailey had a personal best of 10.31 in the 100m and 20.99 in the 200m. However, the fact is, he’s unknown at the senior level and his unexpected win at the trials has prompted many to ask who he is, while others are curious about what has caused his vast improvement in one year.
Michael Clarke, Bailey’s coach since high school and the owner/manager of the Akan Track Club based in Jamaica, knows best.
Clarke underscored nutrition as one of the main reasons for Bailey’s progress: “Oshane is eating much better; he is starting to take his diet more seriously,” he said. Currently weighing 160 pounds, Bailey has added 10 pounds of muscle since last year; hence, he is much stronger. Coach Clarke also said that the young athlete’s body is maturing and he will naturally improve and get stronger as time goes by.
Clarke then pointed to the specific training program geared for Bailey as another reason for the young athlete’s improvement. “At Calabar, we did group training so everyone did the same thing. Now we are able to focus specifically on the individual athlete,” he said. While the current program addresses the technical aspect of Bailey’s race, Coach Clarke noted that Bailey “has a long way to go in terms of technical efficiency but he is a hard worker.”
Clarke has been coaching Bailey since he was 14 and describes him as “very coachable”, a hard worker who takes instruction well.
However, “Oshane does not yet fully understand what great responsible it is to be a world-class athlete in terms of his training regiment, preparation and mental focus, but as he matures he will get it,” Clarke said.
The goal for this season, Clarke said, is for Bailey to run his first sub-10-secs 100m, and then he will appreciate where his is on the path to becoming a world-class sprinter.
Clarke recalls that it was Bailey’s mother who sought him out to coach Bailey. “He [Bailey] was attending another school and his mother was worried that he may have turned out bad if he did not change his school and his environment,” Clarke said. So, Mom asked Clarke to coach her son and Clarke agreed for him to join him at Calabar.
In an interview with the media after winning the Jamaica Championships, Bailey complimented Coach Clarke, whom he said was like a father to him.
Bailey’s teammates at Calabar included Ramone McKenzie (now a professional), and he has done head to head relay battles against Yohan Blake, Nikel Ashmeade and Dexter Lee, who have all graduated from high school and turned pro.
Up next for this rising star are the CAC (Central American and Caribbean) Senior Games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, July 22-27 and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, October 3-14.
Is Oshane Bailey set to take his game to the next level and become a world class athlete?