The year 2020 has been one of the more stagnant and motionless for sports fans the world over in recent memory, but one of the positive aspects that has come out of it has been that it has allowed athletes to recover from nagging injuries, rest their bodies and come back stronger whenever competition is resumed.
One of those such athletes is Anthonique Strachan who is coming off a grade two hamstring tear, suffered in the semifinals of the women’s 200 meters (m) at the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships in Doha, Qatar, last year. The resilient Strachan would be the first to tell you that she loves to compete and is longing for the opportunity to get back on the track, but of paramount concern is to be completely healthy and to operate at her full potential.
Strachan lives and trains out of Kingston, Jamaica – working out as a member of the MVP (Maximizing Velocity and Power) Track and Field Club alongside global superstars such as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Asafa Powell and Elaine Thompson, of Jamaica, and under the watchful eyes of world renowned speed coach Stephen Francis, of Jamaica. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Strachan said she has been gradually getting back to her normal routine and trying to maintain her focus on the goal at hand which is to qualify for the Olympics and represent The Bahamas well at that level.
“I’ve been coping really well. I’ve been doing my normal activities and training on a regular basis,” she said. “I really haven’t been leaving my residence much, except for essential items and to train. Whenever I go out, I’m very self conscious as to how close I am to people. I’ve also been more conscious of washing my hands on a regular basis and wiping down things. Training has changed drastically. Usually at this time, I’m in competition shape and ready to compete. Right now, I don’t know where I’m at competition-wise.”
Strachan, 26, entered the senior ranks as the IAAF’s Female Rising Star in 2013. She had one of the most decorated careers a junior athlete could have, as a two-time double sprint champion at CARIFTA, and a two-time Austin Sealy Award winner at the CARIFTA Games. She was also a double sprint champion at the IAAF World Junior Championships.
A slew of injuries slowed her progress on the senior side. Strachan has shown flashes of brilliance since, but never duplicated the production she had on the junior side. In the midst of what she considers to be the prime of her career, she said she is looking forward to continuing to get better as time goes on. The presence of the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered her progress a bit, forcing her and her teammates to train at an alternative venue, but she said she is taking everything in stride and is optimistic for the immediate future.
“I’m using this year to correct minor things and focus on what areas I need to improve on. I’m still hopeful that I will be able to compete in some meets this year, but if not, I’m okay with that. Right now, I’m just taking it one day at a time and seeing what happens,” she said. “I want to be in some sort of shape and fitness going into the 2021 season. That’s an Olympic year and I’m looking forward to that. Health-wise I feel okay, and I know I’ll feel even better next year – definitely much better than I was in Doha. I feel good. I’m a lil disappointed with the Olympics being pushed back because I felt like I would have been ready to compete this year. However, it’s a pandemic so it’s beyond all of our control. I understand that precautions had to be taken. I’m just looking to improve each and every time out. There are no high expectations – I just want to go out there and do my best.”
Following that setback from Doha last year, Strachan said she has been working hard to get back to where she needs to be to be competitive again. She said she feels about 90-95 percent healthy right now.
“I don’t think anyone in athletics is ever at 100 percent because of all the wear and tear that track and field has on your body. Our bodies take a lot of pounding everyday, but I feel good and I’m ready to go,” said Strachan.
Strachan, who has been training with the MVP Track and Field Club for the past three years, said she is not focussing on coming home to The Bahamas this summer but rather just trying to get as physically strong as she can going into the remainder of 2020 and into the 2021 season.
Strachan has personal best times of 11.20 seconds in the 100m, done during her final year as a junior in 2012, and 22.32 seconds in the 200m, done during her first year as a senior athlete in 2013. She said she is looking forward to competing in her third Olympics, next year in Tokyo, Japan. The Games of the 32nd Olympiad have been postponed to July 23 to August 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.