IF at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. Javelin thrower Nathaniel Mathura took that proverb seriously and is now anticipating the 2021 Carifta Games in Bermuda after earning the qualification standard in the javelin event on his fourth and final attempt.
On Sunday, Nathaniel threw a personal best of 59.49 metres to win the boys Under-20 javelin event, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, in Port of Spain.
His effort was enough to make the Carifta standard of 58.50m at the National Association of Athletics Administrations National Gas Company Track Series Five.
Nathaniel, 18, will be ineligible to compete at the 2022 Carifta Games because of his age. Nathaniel, a Lower six student at El Dorado East Secondary, has been trying to earn a spot on the Carifta team since 2018, but continuously fell short.
Speaking with Newsday, on Wednesday, Nathaniel said, “My performance was good. It was what I was hoping for and what I was training and working towards. I made (the) standard, but I need to work on some more things and I am currently working on it.”
Nathaniel started training with Ismael Lopez Mastrapa in 2019, the coach of Olympic gold medallist Keshorn Walcott. Among the others Nathaniel trains alongside are assistant coach Kerron Browne and upcoming junior discus thrower Jaden James.
Nathaniel, who decided he wanted to take up the discipline of javelin when he saw Walcott win gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games, is now getting the opportunity to learn from the Olympic champion.
Nathaniel, who has aspirations of competing at the Olympics, said, “I train alongside him (Walcott) sometimes and I see him every week. It is an inspiration to me watching him train. He basically showed me technique and improving little things in my throw.”
Nathaniel said that he has to continue sharpening his technique and continue to build strength.
On working with Mastrapa, he said, “It has been great working with him.”
Track and field locally resumed in February under covid19 guidelines. The sport was put on pause because of the pandemic in March 2020 which meant athletes were forced to do their own training or train in small groups with no competition.
Nathaniel did not waste time during the downtime. He said, “I worked on my core and strength and conditioning and technique.”
On representing TT at the 2021 Carifta Games, Nathaniel said, “That will mean everything to me. I have been trying since the Under-17 level. About five years I have been trying to make the Carifta standard and this is my last year (in the) Under-20…it will mean everything to me to represent my country at Carifta Games.”
The Carifta Games has not been held since 2019. The games were initially scheduled to be held in Bermuda from April 10 to 13, 2020 but covid19 forced the meet to be postponed to 2021.
Organisers were targeting July, 2021 but the games are now tentatively set for August 13 to 15.
The change in dates is to avoid a clash between the meet and CXC. The organisers also said it will allow Bermuda more time to prepare for the meet and hopefully by then the covid19 pandemic will improve.
Nathaniel’s father Chad is proud that his son tried to have a positive mindset during the pandemic.
Chad said, “It was very frustrating, but he kept optimistic by working hard at home as well (and) continued keeping his body in tune so as soon as they were given the okay to start back training he accepted it with open arms and hit the ground running from there.”
Nathaniel is also trying to earn a scholarship to the US.