It was a celebratory day at the University of The Bahamas’ Oakes Field Campus on Thursday, February 6, as two of their world-class multi-event athletes – Ken Mullings and Kendrick Thompson – were honored by the university at Independence Park.
The two education majors who are specializing in physical education, were honored for outstanding performances at the Purdue Gene Edmonds Memorial Invitational at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
At that indoor meet, Mullings, a junior, won the event for a third straight year as he shattered his own national record of 5,426 points with a score of 5,678 points. That score placed him second in the world at the time in that event. As of yesterday, he is now ranked in the top 20 in the world at number 17 as the season heats up.
Leading at that time was Russia’s Andrey Lervkovskiy with a score of 5,739. He is now ranked number 13 in the world.
The heptathlon event includes the 60-meter (m) dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60m hurdles, pole vault and 1,000 meters event.
At the celebration on Thursday afternoon, Mullings, who hails from Grand Bahama, said being honored showed that they are role models for the university.
“It shows that we are not just athletes but we are role models for the University of The Bahamas and we have a lot on our shoulders to carry to make the school proud,” Mullings said.
For Mullings, having Thompson up there with him shows that the training they are getting is working once the work and dedication are put into it.
Thompson, a junior, was second at the Purdue meet with a score of 5,636 points. He was ranked third in the world at that point in time. For Thompson, he is now ranked number 22 on the world stage.
“It is an honor to be put in the spotlight like this. This, right here, is big for me. I never had this before and this will cause me to push harder because great things happen for people who push and hard work pays off,” Thompson said.
In the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Area, Mullings and Thompson are ranked fifth and seventh place respectively.
The meet at Purdue was the only heptathlon event the duo did this season. However, they have been doing individual events at local meets. Mullings, who also holds the national record in the decathlon, said his season has been going well.
“I have been having a great season so far. I have been having a lot of personal records in all of my individual events. I just need to clean up more on my long jump and I should be good to go for the rest of the season,” Mullings said.
As for Thompson, he is very happy with the way his season has been going.
“I am happy and proud that I got couple personal records. It shows that when you open up with personal records, that later on in the season you will have progress and hopefully make Olympics,” he said.
Thompson, who hails from Andros, said confidently that there is no doubt he will be making the Olympic team.
Both athletes are on the path of making the 2020 Olympic team as the season progresses.
UB Athletics Director Kimberley Rolle said that the duo’s performances at Purdue were phenomenal.
“When you look back at both performances of both Ken and Kendrick last month at Purdue, it’s phenomenal. I don’t think anywhere in our history have we ever had two athletes ranked top-three in the same sport in the world,” Rolle said.
She added: “They are kicking that myth out the door that you can’t reach your dreams and athletic aspirations at home. They have proven that. They are proving it. This is a tremendous treat for the University of The Bahamas athletics but also for the country on the whole because what it says is that in the world, we have two of the top three athletes in The Bahamas. That is such a huge deal.”
The two student-athletes received commemorative gifts from the university and also had a song from popular singer Solo.