Christopher Taylor is being lauded for securing a new personal best today when he went up against some of the world’s fastest men in the 400 metres at his first Olympic Games.
He finished sixth in 44.79 seconds.
The 21-year-old, who hails from Ewarton and Lluidas Vale districts in St. Catherine, is the first Jamaican man to advance to the medal round of the 400-metres in 17 years.
“I a super excited,” the athlete’s mother, Pauline Knight, better known as ‘Miss Bev’, told The Beacon moments after the race.
Kevion Minzie, the educator who discovered and started to nurture Taylor’s athletic abilities at Ewarton Primary School, is proud.
“I feel proud to know that Taylor came out of that event injury-free as well as with a personal best. He ran really well and to be sixth in your first Olympics, what more can we ask for. I’m super proud,” he commented.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who said he was happy to see Taylor at the Olympics, described the performance as fantastic. “Fantastic job, Christopher,” he wrote.
A similar sentiment came from the island’s Minister of Sports, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange.
She said: “Another Personal Best of 44.79, what more could we ask for. Well done Christopher Taylor in finishing sixth in the Men’s 400m final. You are now delivering on that promise that you showed as a 15-year-old. You have mixed in with the big guns and have shown that you are the sixth best 400-metre runner in the world. Congratulations Chris. Well done. You have made Jamaica so proud.”
Former Olympian, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, who is now a Member of Parliament, said Taylor’s run was courageous. “You’ve made us proud with your Olympic sixth place finish of 44.79 personal best. Courageous run out of lane nine. Congratulations.”
In the meantime, the Member of Parliament for St. Catherine North West where Taylor grew up, Hugh Graham, joined in congratulating the young sprinter. “I don’t know if it is possible for me to feel more pride. You have stayed focused, pressed through pain, and worked your way back to running a personal best at the Olympics!” Graham noted.
Steven Gardiner from the Bahamas won the race in a season’s best 43.85, while Anthony Zambrano of Colombian finished second in 44.08 seconds. Kirani James of Grenada won the bronze in 44.19 seconds.
Taylor, in the meantime, expressed gratitude to his many supporters.
“My biggest achievement yet, a final in my first Olympic Games and a personal best! There is not much more I could ask for,” he added. “Jamaica, thank you for standing with me through the many setbacks, injuries and times it looked like it was impossible. I am young; I am not perfect but I’m looking forward to the future and I hope you continue to support me as I grow.”
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