BUDAPEST, Hungary – Out of the 11 athletes on Team Bahamas for the 19th World Athletics Championships at the National Athletics Stadium in Budapest, Hungary, three are newcomers at this level.
One of them, Shakeem Hall-Smith has already completed competition, finishing 29th overall in the men’s 400 meters (m) hurdles. The other two are both female field athletes – Charisma Taylor in the women’s triple jump and Rhema Otabor in the women’s javelin. Guardian Sports was able to catch up with the local coach of the latter, Corrington Maycock, and whilst not making a prediction, he likes the form his athlete is in.
“This is the world championships with the best athletes in the world so it wouldn’t be wise to make a prediction for her, but I could tell you that she is in fine firm and she will perform well,” said Maycock who is a part of The Bahamas’ team coaching Otabor here in Budapest. “Rhema is a tremendous athlete and definitely one to look out for in the future. This is her first meet at this level so there are no expectations but she likes a challenge and I believe she will perform well.”
Otabor will compete in the qualifying rounds of the women’s javelin at 10:20 a.m. Wednesday morning, 4:20 a.m. back in The Bahamas. The final is set for Friday evening in Budapest. She qualified for the world championships through her World Athletics Rankings points.
Otabor has had a fantastic season, winning the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Outdoor title and setting a personal best in the women’s javelin three times. At just 20, she’s the youngest member of Team Bahamas at these world championships and already the second-best women’s javelin thrower in Bahamian history, trailing just the legendary Laverne Eve – a former Commonwealth Games champion, a multiple Central American and Caribbean (CAC) champion and a five-time Olympian in the women’s javelin.
Otabor appears to be following right in her footsteps. She has a personal best throw of 59.75m (196’), about four meters behind Eve’s national record of 63.73m (209’ 1”). Otabor is aiming to become just the second Bahamian behind Eve to throw in excess of 60m (196’ 10”) and 200 feet in the women’s javelin. She’s thrown over 59m (193’ 7”) in three competitions this year.
“She’s on a path that will lead to greatness. There is no doubt about that,” said Maycock. “She’s in good standings right now and she could only go up from here. Right now, it’s just a matter of fine tuning. I believe The Bahamas will be quite pleased with what she will be able to do in the near future.”
At the NCAAs at the Mike A. Myers Stadium, in Austin, Texas, in June, Otabor had a winning throw of 59.49 (195’ 2”) for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Texas A&M Aggies sophomore teammates Lianna Davidson and Katelyn Fairchild were second and third with throws of 58.78m (192’ 10”) and 57.97m (190’ 2”) respectively.
Otabor is at number 46 on World Athletics’ Top Performance List for 2023, but is one of the youngest athletes on the list in the top 50 and it is believed that competition at this level will only serve to push her to turn in one of her better performances.
She is one who never backs down from a challenge, and according to Maycock, will be ready to throw.
The sky is the limit for the young female javelin thrower from The Bahamas.