Alonso Edward in the 200m at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015
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