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St. John's track athlete Josh Hamilton brought his 'A' game to Winnipeg

Gonzaga High School student Josh Hamilton set a goal of making it to the A finals in his events at the 2017 Canada Summer Games and has been successful in that quest.
Gonzaga High School student Josh Hamilton set a goal of making it to the A finals in his events at the 2017 Canada Summer Games and has been successful in that quest.

Growing up in Jamaica, you can only imagine the shock Josh Hamilton felt when he landed in Newfoundland two years ago following his mother’s transfer to Canada.

Any potential fretting, however, was eased when Hamilton learned that, yes, there is track and field on Canada’s far east coast.

While the sport doesn’t boast the numbers of, say, hockey or soccer, its roots in Newfoundland trace back a long, long time.

Hamilton is just 16, one of the youngest competitors in track and field at these 2017 Canada Summer Games, where the age limit is under-22.

The sport isn’t just a pastime of his, but a passion, coming from a country that’s home to the sport’s great star, Usain Bolt.

A Gonzaga high school student in St. John’s, Hamilton, who already stands 6-1, trains under Canada Games coach Jennifer Stender. The program isn’t as big as the one you’d find in Jamaica, but Hamilton doesn’t care.

“You know what,” he said with a big grin, “as long as there’s a track and there’s a coach, I’ll be training.

“Jenn is a really good coach. If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t even be here right now. I’d be like, ‘Mom, I love ya, but I have to go someplace where there’s track!’”

Hamilton reached the A final of the 400 metres Thursday, finishing eighth in 49.21 seconds, a 10th of a second off his personal best 49.20.

Today, Hamilton is in the long jump A final.

“Coming into the competition, all I wanted to do was make finals in everything,” he said. “I’m the youngest person in the field.

“So when I heard I made it through to finals (in the 400), there was really no pressure on me, so I just wanted to go out there and just run my own race.

“I started and went out as hard as I normally go, got to the backstretch and tried to keep up with the boys out in front. By the time I got to the homestretch, I just wanted to bring it home.”

Weather aside, Hamilton loves it in Newfoundland — “a beautiful place, beautiful people” — and is already dabbling in a few other sports, namely soccer and rugby.

And while he enjoys those games, and his teammates, it’s not track and field.

“Nothing touches track and field,” he said.

 

rshort@thetelegram.com

 

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