The Northwest Express Classic Track and Field Meet got off to a rainy start Friday, but it could not dampen the day for 13-year-old Jahvaurny Anderson.
Anderson was one of some 300 Jamaican athletes in the meet at Dade North’s Traz Powell Stadium. For Anderson, it was his first time in the meet. It also was his first time in the United States. And it was his first plane trip.
“The plane trip made me dizzy, but I wasn’t worried,” said Anderson, who is a sprinter and will run in the 100 and 200 meters in the meet.
He comes from the sprinting capital of the world, as tiny Jamaica has produced such sprinters as Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Merlene Otty and Veronica Campbell-Brown.
That’s tough company for Anderson to keep up with.
“No, I can’t beat Usain Bolt, he’s too fast,” Anderson said with a smile. “But maybe some day when he’s old.”
Anderson, a confident youngster, was quick to add, “I’m fast. I’m going to win in this meet.”
He runs for the John Mills Primary and Junior High School and is proud of his country and its rich track and field tradition.
His coach, Bancroft McFarlane, is more proud of the kids and how they behave than how they finish.
“This is a great experience for the kids,” McFarlane said. “They are really excited about the track meet and coming to the U.S. They meet all different cultures, and I like seeing that.”
When the meet is over, the teams go back home, but McFarlane knows many of the friendships continue — thanks to the social network.
“They get on Facebook and remain friends — sometimes for life.”
How will Jamaica do in the meet? McFarlane gave a quick answer.
“We are Jamaicans,” he said, “and we like to run fast.”