Carifta gold medallist Otto Laing.
CARIFTA gold medallist Otto Laing offers Bahamas Speed Dynamics coach Daron Lightbourne a token of his gratitude after committing to Howard University.
#By TENAJH SWEETING
#Tribune Sports Reporter
#Carifta gold medallist Otto Laing will be headed to Washington DC to commence his studies and collegiate track career at Howard University.
#The hurdler made the announcement at his former primary school Xavier’s yesterday in a room filled with his loved ones, and supporters.
#Laing had a tough decision having to choose between 24 college offers, but ultimately he decided to commit to the HBCU Howard University to embark on his next step in life.
#Laing reflected on what made him choose one of the five largest HBCUs in the nation as his next place of learning and training.
#“I looked at which school would really take care of me, it was really not because of the name or how big the school was but moreso where I felt like I would blossom and excel and [with] Howard, I felt as though the coaches would take care of me seeing that I am from The Bahamas.Being able to go all the way to Washington DC to showcase my talents means the world to me,” Laing said.
#The hurdler faced many trials and tribulations leading up to his joyous moment. One of the biggest supporters in his corner was his mom who passed away at a young age. He also lost a father figure in his life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
#Following these obstacles, Laing struggled to find his motivation in a sport he once loved and on top of those hurdles he had to deal with nagging hamstring injuries coming into early 2023. However, under the tutelage of Bahamas Speed Dynamics coach Daron Lightbourne Laing was able to discover his passion once again in only 1 year and 4 months.
#Lightbourne said when he encountered Laing he told him to stay at a home for a year which was not a decision that most people agreed with but they both came up with a plan together with the first goal being college and the next to help Laing run faster. Ultimately, the plan worked with the hurdler now being able to pick, choose, and refuse colleges and run sub 14 for a personal best in his quest to the collegiate level.
#“It means the world to me because at the beginning of this season I was dealing with a lot of hamstring injuries and I wasnt sure if I was going to be able to run at CARIFTA and I found myself starting to stress and overthink but I kept myself grounded and my coach kept me grounded…it means the world to me now that I was able to sign now considering that I have been through so much to get here it still feels surreal to me,” he said.
#Laing was unable to emerge victorious at the CARIFTA trials but he surprised everyone with his perseverance by capturing gold in the under 20 110m hurdles at the 50th CARIFTA Games.
#The CARIFTA gold-medallist not only has the support of his guardians, and loved ones but he also has the 100% support of coach Lightbourne.
#“For me I am very elated about it you know we set out a plan and we followed through with the plan you know my job is to mentor them not only with track and field but their personal life as young men,” he said.
#Bahamas Speed Dynamics’coach always stressed the importance of his athletes going to schools where they are more than just a number especially the ones that plan to pursue track professionally. He and Laing are confident in the abilities of Howard’s director of track and field David Oliver.
#“David Oliver is a really great coach expect to look out for me at the regionals and to qualify for the nationals next year I look forward to breaking some collegiate records and look forward to having a great collegiate year,” Laing said.
#Next stop for Laing will be the Puerto Rico for the Pan American Junior Championships set for August 2-7