Derrick Atkins looking to run well at 2012 Olympics
Guardian Sports Editor
LONDON, England The fastest Bahamian to ever hit the track is back, and ready to compete on the world's biggest stage for athletics.
After a breakthrough year in 2007 when he became the first, and to date, only Bahamian to run 10 seconds in the 100 meters, Derrick Atkins battled through an injury-plagued Olympic year in 2008, and never regained top form.
This year however, he appears to have his swagger back. Atkins ran his fastest time in four years this year, and could very well challenge for a spot in the final at these 30th Olympic Games.
The games got underway Saturday morning and will run through August 12.
"I feel very honored and blessed to have another opportunity to represent my country on the biggest stage for track and field," said Atkins.
"It was a long journey to get to this point, and hopefully I can go out there and do my best. I think that the sky is the limit for me.
"Of course, I would want to make the final and win a medal but the field is very thick. It's definitely going to be tough to make it through the rounds.
"I think that when it comes down to the final, the person who has the best race on that particular day will win the gold medal."
The men's 100m has always been the marquee race of any athletics meet, particularly given the tremendous strides in the sport the Jamaican sprinters have made in the past five years.
While healthy, world record holder Usain Bolt looks unbeatable, his compatriot and training partner Yohan Blake has already accomplished the feat twice this year, and could present a formidable challenge to not only the gold medal, but some believe Bolt's world records as well.
As for Atkins, he isn't focused on either one of them.
He just wants to get back to the form he was in, in 2007 when he set the Bahamian national record at 9.91 seconds in winning a silver medal at the Osaka World Championships.
"I think that anything is possible," said Atkins.
"The weather could be a challenge in terms of putting up record-breaking times, but it has been beautiful since we've been here.
"That could definitely play a factor come race day, but at the end of the day, people just have to go out there and compete."
Atkins has a best this season of 10.09 seconds into a headwind, in Clermont, Florida the training ground of former World Champion Tyson Gay.
Gay was the man who beat Atkins for the gold medal at the 2007 World Championships, and is back on another Olympic team along with fellow American Justin Gatlin.
As for the relay, Atkins said that he really wanted to see the boys get it together and qualify a team but things just didn't work in their favor.
The Bahamas finished out of the top 20 nations in the world and only the top 16 qualified for the Olympics.
"That was truly disappointing because I really believed that we had the leg speed to do it," said Atkins.
"I have always been on board with the relay team. The problem is that we never had the right four guys at the same place at the same time.
"I think that's the biggest reason why we didn't get that accomplished this year, but hopefully next year, we could get that sorted out for the World Championships."
The athletics portion of the 30th Olympic Games will get underway on Friday, August 3. Atkins along with fellow countryman Warren Fraser will run in the heats of the men's 100m on Saturday August 4, at the Olympic Stadium.
© 2012 The Freeport News