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Barry’s contribution worthy of praise

There was a time in The Bahamas when an athlete of Trevor Barry’s status would have been a household name.

For most of this decade, he has been very dependable while competing in his specialty, the high jump. Prior to 2000 his consistency would have resulted in him being quite popular among his countrymen. For instance, just this year alone, he won two silver medals in important competitions.

First, he captured a silver medal at the Central American and Caribbean(CAC)Games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Then, he followed that up with another silver hardware piece at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

It has actually been an outstanding season for him. He proved to be second best in the CAC region and the number two jumper in the entire Commonwealth of Nations. That’s not shabby at all. However, in both cases, he finished second to another Bahamian, Donald Thomas, who simply added to his legacy, having been a world champion in 2007. So, Barry operates in Thomas’shadow.

The nation has been spoiled by the high levels of success over decades by the Original Golden Girls. A world championship in 1999 and the Olympic crown the year later have become the standard by which our athletes are mostly judged by the Bahamian public.

Indeed, a Trevor Barry is not noticed all that much. It’s an unfair scenario. There should be much more appreciation shown for this steady competitor. He is a Bahamian athletic hero. His resume dictates as much. Barry hit the international senior circuit early in the decade, competing in that rare combination of high jump and long jump. The long and triple jumps form the more usual mix with athletes, but for Barry from the outset, he preferred the horizontal and vertical jumps.

He proved to be pretty good in the long jump, with a personal best of 7.78 meters(m)in 2006. As late as 2009, he had a 7.43 meters effort. Clearly though, the high jump is his forte. The silver medal in New Delhi was achieved with a 2.29m height, his best ever. He has had jumps also of 2.28m, several at 2.26m and a 2.25m clearance. Without a doubt, he is a genuine elite performer and a strong contributor to the country’s sports power image.

At 27, barring any serious injury, he should have a few more quality years left. He seems to be hitting his stride. It was 2.28 meters in 2009, then, the 2.29m jump this year in India. It’s an interesting trend. If he continues the improvement, look for him to hit the milestone of 2.30 meters this year and head upwards from there until the end of his career.

Along the rest of the way, a gold medal or two would be especially nice. At the very least, the country can look forward to the rivalry between Barry and Thomas continuing. Maybe one of these days, or perhaps more than once in the coming years, he will end up the victor.

(To respond to this column, kindly contact frobertsturrup@gmail.com)

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