Track And Field Athletes from across the country converged at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex for the Track and Field National Championship on Saturday and Sunday. The two-day event saw athletes of all ages, with varying degrees of experience, go head to head in a number of disciplines. In the end there were those who medaled and others who, with a bit of disappointment, intend to train harder for next year's championship. News Five's Paul Lopez was there on Saturday. He filed the following report which highlights some of the competitors.

Paul Lopez, Reporting

The Belize Athletic Association hosted its National Track and Field Championship over the weekend at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex. The event saw participation from Belizean athletes of all ages, from across the country. One of the youngest runners to compete was twelve-year-old Valory Myers. We spoke with her about her participation in the fifteen hundred meters race on Saturday.

Valory Myers, Track and Field Athlete

"It was more out of my comfort zone. I am more of a three thousand. That is what I am doing tomorrow. But, it was really good because you got to get the speed one year or another."

Paul Lopez

"When you are on the pitch and racing, what goes through your mind when you know that someone is behind you, trying to catch up and even surpass you?"

Valory Myers, Track and Field Athlete

"Just keep going, you got this. It is always going to end. You'll have another day to pass them. Just work hard and do your best. I have been training for four years, but I have only been training seriously since six grade, because that is when a girl's body matures. So you got to like actually put in the work to stack up the levels to get to the Olympic level."�

In the shot put competition, seventeen-year-old Mia Sylvester is a force to be reckoned with. She currently holds two regional records in the event.

Mia Sylvester, Track and Field Athlete

"One day I saw one of my friend throwing shot put and I said I want to try the sport. It was nice to try the sport. From that, it was my sport. I felt comfortable. It took a lot of training and yes I have some good days and bad days, but in the end it is all worth it. You have to have a lot of coordination and speed. It is not just about strength, because many people think it is just about strength. It is about the coordination, the skill, the technique. The ball will not go as far throwing a normal rock. There is a lot to take into consideration."

Mia says she plans to continue her training in order to maintain her preeminence outside of Belize. We also spoke with sisters Ashonti and Ashanti Carr. Both of them are currently pursuing bachelor's degrees in Jamaica. But on competition days like today, the books are shelved and the track and field spikes come out.

Ashonti Carr, Track and Field Athlete

"I specialize in the four and eight hundred meters. I started when I was like ten years old, but I started on the road with my dad and my mom, the 5k. The first time, I fainted. The second time and after that I was dominant in the 5k. That is how I started, with the 5k. I have always been a distance runner. A couple years ago I started to specialize on the track. Still getting there because I've had a lot of slow twitch being I am a long distance runner. So, I am trying to develop speed."

Ashanti Carr, track and Field Athlete

I specialize with long jump and triple jump. I feel in love with the sport basically because we grew up in a house of sports because that was that, and then school.� So, I developed the love because that is basically all we knew. We support each other a hundred percent. So, when she is competing I will be there. When I am competing I will be there. The only way we won't be there for each other is if we are sick, but that is it."

With such a promising future for Track and Field in Belize, there is a general sentiment that greater investments in sporting facilities and athletesare needed now more than ever.� Albert Davis, a long distance runner who competed, gave us his views on this.

Albert Davis, Track and Field Athlete

"We can do much more. We are not doing enough for our athletes here in Belize. We can do much much more, you understand. That is our problem here in Belize. We as athletes we can only do so much. It is left up to those higher in power to invest in us and give us what we need. For example me, I don't just run. I have to work, plus when I am off work, I do farming as well. So, I am a Coast Guard. I do farming. I have my family. Just because I love running that is why I continue."


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