Alonso Edward in the 200m at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 (© Getty Images)
Panama’s Alonso Edward earned the 200m silver medal at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin, finishing behind Usain Bolt in his historic world record-breaking run. But a performance five years later stands out even more for the three-time Diamond trophy winner.
Winning the Continental Cup in 2014 remains the high point in my career.
I was coming out of my first Diamond League trophy and I was mentally exhausted after a long season. I wanted to go home and hesitated whether to accept the invitation to join Team Americas. I had nine days between the Diamond League final and the Continental Cup. That was a long wait.
I ran in lane three and my teammate Rasheed Dwyer pushed all the way to the finish. We both ran 19.98 but I was given the win on a photo finish. What a way to end the season and being part of Team Americas!
I was fortunate to join Team Americas for the 2018 Continental Cup and won the 200m again – a sweet way to remember the 2014 victory.
Obviously, the silver medal in Berlin was important and unexpected. I was 19 and coming out of college (Barton Community Collegue in Kansas, USA). My mind set was different. I was not a professional athlete and I was just enjoying the moment.
If you look at the statistics, 2012, 2013 and 2017 were my lowest years, but I rarely felt down. I am very strong mentally and took those seasons as lessons for my career.
I struggled with my left quadriceps in 2012 and 2013 and my right hamstring in 2017 but I have great support. My agents, former athletes Ramon Clay and John Regis, have helped me understand that low moments are part of the sport and they should be a great motivation to work harder.
I was excited to get back on track in 2018. I set a personal best and national record in the 100m and went under 20 seconds twice. It is a great boost for the two crucial upcoming years. I know I have what it takes to run 19.5-19.6. We will focus on improving my first 100 metres. I plan to run more 100s in 2019 and I’m considering doubling at major championships including the Pan American Games and the World Championships.
I also want to become the first South American athlete to break the 10-second barrier and I know it is only a matter of time.
I have been working with coach Lance Brauman in Claremont, Florida, since 2012 and it is a great group to be part of. Training with some of the best athletes in the world including Noah Lyles and Shaunae Miller-Uibo is a privilege and a great motivation to do your best.
I feel honoured to take the baton and represent Panama after Irving Saladino (the 2008 Olympic long jump champion) retired. I feel there has been some progress in our sport but we can do much better. There’s talent in our country and young athletes are being better supported now. I am glad to be a role model to them, including my younger brother Mateo, who runs 100m.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF