Olympic Gold Next--Kyron Celebrated

Melissa Edwards, Senior Reporter | 3 Opinions
Published: May 23, 2017 6:45 am AST
On Monday afternoon, May 22, the breezeway at the Admin Complex was swollen with Virgin Islands pride, as scores gathered to extend warm welcome to Kyron McMaster, who returned home with the fastest time globally in the 400 metres hurdle.

Over the weekend, at the Jamaica Invitational Meet, the young BVIslander ran a world leading time and national record, to capture the Men's 400 Metre Hurdles with a time of 47.80 secs, finishing ahead of Jamaican, Jaheel Hyde, who clocked a time of 48.52 secs.

McMaster, during the ceremony, sang high praises to his coach, Dag Samuels.

"He (Dag) was over there smiling; the happiest man I have ever seen, and then I go over and hugged my coach," a teary McMaster recalled about his feelings after winning the race at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.

The young athlete was given the name 'Danger Man' by the commentator in Jamaica.

"We come from a small island we are underrated a lot, and we (him and coach) have been through a lot, so for me to do that under him, I want to say I love him and thank him for all the accomplishments we have made, and this is just the beginning…We have much bigger plans ahead of us," McMaster stated.

Kyron McMaster with his coach, Dag Samuels.
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
Dag, who was in the audience as McMaster spoke at the podium, was also teary-eyed.

"I just trust the process of me training six days a week, 12 hours a day...Very hard training, it's not easy…I executed the race and I should come out on top and that’s what I told coach," he said.

The young man, who is the son of Joycelyn McMaster and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works, Mr. Anthony McMaster, said that while there, he realized that he was the only athlete who was not professionally signed by a company, but that did not deter him.

He thanked his parents for their support and for instilling that he also has to excel in academics.

There are high hopes for McMaster. Hon. Myron Walwyn, Minister of Education and Culture believes that he will bring home an Olympic gold medal.

The Minister said that prior to leaving for Jamaica, McMaster had expressed concerns about athletes, who he believes the government needs to provide more assistance. He said McMaster has his future plans well sorted out, including college.

However, Minister Walwyn gave the youngster a little advice.

"That shows that he is somebody who cares about people. I said to him, it might sound selfish, but I am not being selfish; sometimes when you're heading somewhere, you cannot carry everybody with you one time, it's too much weight for you to carry sometimes," the Minister said.

He added, "But for those behind, I will help to hold the strain for them, but the most important thing you can do for those persons you want to bring along, is to break that glass ceiling for them."

To this end, Minister Walwyn asked him to bring home an Olympic gold medal.

"And I am saying to you, go out and break that glass ceiling and bring home an Olympic gold medal here...And I believe in every fibre of my being you can do it and you will do it."

Gov't Support/A Humble Kid

Officials from the BVI Athletics Association (BVIAA) used the opportunity to call on government and businesses to throw more support behind the local athletes.

"We all saw the race, we have something special here and I am asking you guys, the wider BVI, give Kyron the support that he truly needs. This doesn’t happen everyday," said Mr. Steve Augustine, BVIAA President.

He added, "Government continues to support the BVI athletes. I hope that Kyron’s accomplishment here today reinforces the need for you to continue to support the BVI athletes...Also (support) from corporate BVI."

Augustine mentioned that the world's fastest man, Jamaica's Usain Bolt's manager has already signaled interest in McMaster.

Hon. Walwyn said that the investment in building the A.O. Shirley Recreational Grounds was a good one.

"It's good that the government in it's wisdom invests…I wasn’t apart of the government at that time...but that athletic track was a good investment for the young people of this country," he said.

The mMinister said, "And it has some very good athletes in this country, and it only shows that if you make the investment in them, you can see the great things that will come out of them."

Hon. Walwyn also thanked coaches like Dag, who in spite of limited resources, produce athletes like McMaster.

Premier Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith said that McMaster's win helps to put the BVI on the map.

"People will be reading about him all over the world...Want to come and see this little place this little boy grew up," said Premier Smith, who delivered McMaster during child birth.

Mr. Rey O'Neal past president of the BVIAA and BVI Olympics Committee also gave brief comments, where he described McMaster as a humble and disciplined young man.

"Many of our young athletes are not approachable, but Kyron is, always with a smile on his face...He will take it further from here," O'Neal related.

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