Thanks to Coach Paul, Anderson, the whole Track Blazers family, my parents, my church, Pastor (Stevenson) Worme of the Faith Pentecostal Church in Pomme Rose, St. David, and all those people who have been behind me, and praying for me…
Those were just some words of gratitude expressed by aspiring professional athlete and St. David’s Catholic Secondary School (SDCSS) student, Rayvohn Telesford, 16, who won the U-17 Boys Javelin Throw event at the recently held 49th CARIFTA Games in Jamaica with a throw of 62.8m, to capture the only Gold medal obtained by the 13-member Grenadian team.
Speaking in a telephone interview with THE NEW TODAY, the U-17 Boys javelin champion, who hails from the community of Retreat in Pomme Rose, St. David, spoke about going into the competition ranked number one (1) in the region with the longest throw of 62m flat.
Rayvohn started his athletic journey as a sprinter but soon switched interest and began training to throw the 700-gram javelin pole, under Coach Paul Phillip, the Head Coach of the 12-year-old St. David Track Blazers sports club, which is known to have produced javelin throwers of a high caliber over the years, including the likes of Anderson Peters, who is the current World Champion in the discipline, and the holder of the 2016 CARIFTA record, with a throw of 78.28m.
Going into this year’s CARIFTA Games, Rayvohn was exposed to training with Anderson, along with Markim Felix, who was Grenada’s second-best thrower in the javelin, and PanAm Bronze medalist, Albert Reynolds from St. Lucia, who have all trained under Coach Phillip, and acted as mentors for him.
While Coach Phillip commended Rayvohn for his “determination despite the many challenges,” and his achievement, after only “nine (9) months of structured training,” he, however told THE NEW TODAY that he was disappointed that he did not break the record, which he said would have been the bigger goal for him going into the games.
“The goal for him was not just to win a gold medal but to break the record. We thought that he had the potential to get to a 70m throw… Yes, he would have won a gold, and you know it’s the only Gold (that) we got, so we have to celebrate it (but) in my mind we would have fallen short of the major goal, which was to get the record,” Coach Phillip commented.
According to the Head Coach, Rayvohn has already recommenced training at the Track Blazers base in La Sagesse St. David, with the hope to finish this season closer to the 70m mark, and in preparation to compete in the U-20 category next year.
“He is throwing now, 700 grams, and he has to move up to the next category (U-20), and throw the 800-gram…the CARIFTA standard in the U-20 Boys Javelin is 62m, and he has to first attain that standard to be selected on the CARIFTA team,” Coach Phillip explained.
“We already have two (2) persons who have thrown further than him in the category,” including Cameron Thomas who has a personal best of 62m in the Boys but obtained a Bronze medal this year with a throw of 60.80m, and Carriacou athlete Jaeden Teka, who had a throw of 58.56 m,” he said.
“So, he will have to contend with them for a place in the CARIFTA Team next year, and that means that you can’t spare any moment, you have to train as if the competition is tomorrow, and we think that he has what it takes to move on to the next level and to be a medalist next year in the U20 category,” Coach Paul affirmed.
Rayvohn encourages other aspiring athletes to work hard because “hard work is the key to success.”
“You have to set your goal and work towards it,” added Rayvohn, who has had a strong family and community, most of all from his proud grandmother affectionately known as Lady Cheryl, and mother Cammy Antoine, who described him as a “very humble and determined child,” infatuated with chasing his dreams.
“He wanted to go to CARIFTA…he set his goals, and he has worked very hard training Monday to Saturday (and) all the hard work has finally paid off…he has achieved his goal in the CARIFTA and made us proud… and he is at it again to achieve his goals,” she told THE NEW TODAY.
Antoine also used the opportunity to refer to the “wholistic transformation” observed in her son, who has become more focused since he began training with Coach Phillip, balancing academics, with training six (6) days a week, and going to church on Sundays.
Coach Paul worked with him in terms of not only in sports but training to become that individual, in life lessons, his attitude towards life, family, peers, and his community.
“…He taught him sportsmanship, and that transformation is what brought him that success…. he is baptised and I thank God for transforming his life,” said the proud mother.
The CARIFTA team brought home five (5) bronze medals, that were captured by Isaiah Patrick (Pole Vault), Cameron Thomas (U-20 Javelin), Suerena Alexander (U-17 female Javelin) from the St. David’s Track Blazers, along with Ashareah Enoe (high Jump) from the Carriacou Athletic Committee, and Nazzio John of the ACE Track Club.