Watson returns to Petersfield High


Watson returns to Petersfield High

Observer West writer

Thursday, July 16, 2020

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DUNCANS, Trelawny — Petersfield High's Antonio Watson had expected to complete his sweep of all three 200m titles at the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys' Champs before deciding his next move, but the cancellation of the biggest high school track and field championships due to the coronavirus pandemic has forced him to rethink his options.

With 'unfinished business' left to be sorted out, Watson says he will return to Petersfield come September.

Watson looked well on his way to adding the Class 1 boys' 200m title to the ones he won in Classes 2 and 3, with a series of good performances— winning at the STETHS Invitational in late January, a scintillating win at the County of Cornwall Athletics Association (COCAA) Western Champs also held at STETHS, then a personal best 20.52 seconds to win the Under-20 section at the CARIFTA Trials at the National Stadium in early March.

His run at CARIFTA Trials was the third-best performance in the world for Under-20 male, but unfortunately that was his final run of the year because the plug was pulled on Champs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Duncans Primary student said he was in disbelief when he first heard that Champs had been called off.

“When I heard at first I took it for a joke, then when I found out it was for real, I was shocked and disappointed,” he told the Jamaica Observer West.

Watson's clash against Holmwood Technical's Bovel McPherson in the Class 1 400m was expected to be one of the highlights of Champs 2020, and the World Under-18 400m champion in 2017 said his goals were to “win any event I took part in and try to beat my personal best times”.

The long-striding Watson, who said he has not given up competing again for the remainder of the season, if he gets the chance, has a personal best 46.45 seconds in the 400m event, set two years ago.

While his 2020 season was cut short, Watson, who has been bothered by injuries the last few seasons and missed going to the Pan American Games last year, stressed that making the team to the World U-20 Championships was one of his goals for this year.

“Making the team to the World U-20 was the plan for this season and my goal was to come out of the championship on top,” he told the Observer West.

There have been whispers that Watson could skip college and go directly to the professional ranks, but he said no decision had been made about that.

Regardless of where he goes after high school, Watson said “come the 2021 season I will be setting my sights high”.

“My goal for next season is to surpass my personal best times and to be ranked in the top five in the world,” he shared.

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