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Track And Field
Frater, little but tallawah
ON THE second day of the 10th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Helsinki sprinter Michael Frater gave Jamaica a surprise silver medal in the men's 100m final behind Olympic now world champion, American Justin Gatlin.
Frater had been running well all season, but few gave him a realistic chance of getting a medal at the world's top track and field meet. In fact, the expectation was that Jamaica would have been out of the medals in the short sprint following the injury to world record holder Asafa Powell.
Powell and Frater belong to the MVP Track Club and are coached by Stephen Francis. Frater went to high school then university in the United States but since May has been living and training in Jamaica. One on One caught up with the IAAF World Championships 100m silver medallist last Friday following the semi-finals of the men's 4x100m.
Q: How much of an influence did your brother, former national sprinter Lindel Frater, have on your decision to pursue a track career.
Michael Frater: A major influence. He is like the biggest influence in my life in terms of track and field. He was there before anyone else and I looked up to him.
Q: What about your present coach Stephen Francis who has been with you since your days in high school?
MF: He is the first track coach that I have had. I have been coming a long way with him and he has kept on believing in me. That's a major influence when you have somebody that believes in your ability.
Q: What about your parents, Lindel Frater Snr and Monica Frater?
MF: They also have played a huge part in my career. They have been there through thick and thin. When things were down they were right there behind me, cheering me. Now that things are looking very good they are still there supporting me every step of the way and sadly they were not here to see me win the silver medal.
Q: Which educational institutions have you attended?
MF: I went to Ulster Spring Primary in Trelawny, then to Knox College for one year before transferring to Wolmer's Boys. I left Wolmer's early and went to the Boyd Anderson High in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I then attended Texas Christian University where I graduated with a B.S. in political science.
Q: What were your expectations coming into the championships?
MF: I was expecting a medal. My coach believed from day one that I could have gotten a medal. The expectation among the Jamaican group was that everyone coming in could medal but many people believed otherwise. Even people in Jamaica who we expected to support us weren't there supporting us but that's just the way it is.
Q: Did the fact that Asafa Powell was not competing inspire you to do even better here?
MF: I would not say it inspired me. I came here to do my best regardless of whether he was competing or not. I think I did my best and got a silver medal. I must, however, say that having him in my corner has been a great influence, great motivation, but you have to go out there and want it for yourself first of all before you can do it for anybody else.
Q: What do you really want to achieve in the sport?
MF: Ultimately every sprinter wants to be the best. I will just have to take it one step at a time and take a positive view towards the future.
Q: How well did you do at Boys Championships?
MF: I did extremely well in Class Three. I broke both sprint records and then went to Class Two for one year and got second in the 100m then I left for the United States. Therefore, my 'Champs' career was not very long, but was very successful.
Q: The weather here was windy, rainy and cold for most of the time. How did this affect your overall performance?
MF: You know some times you just have to put the weather in the back of your mind. It's track and field. You are going to run in rain, you are going to run in snow and regardless of the conditions you have to go out there and do your best.
Q: What does winning silver here mean to you?
MF: Firstly, it has taken my confidence to another level. I came into the championships very confident already believing that I could be one of the world's top sprinters. I had been creeping up in the rankings each and every week I have been in Europe, but nobody saw that so at the championships we just had to let everything loose. I got a silver medal and I am pretty happy with that.
Q: You have put on a lot of bulk in recent months, why?
MF: It was not a special plan, but if you look at all the sprinters out there I am the smallest one right now, so I had to get not really bigger but more chiselled for more power. It's mostly weight training. In the past I had been in the weight room one or two times a week now I am there three, four times a week.
- Elton Tucker