By Neto Baptiste
Veteran sprinter and 2010 bronze medallist at the IAAF World Indoor Champions, Daniel Bailey, is eying a spot at the 2020 Olympic Games which organisers have said will take place in 2021.
Bailey’s announcement, which came via social media, was somewhat of a surprise as the Antiguan had announced his retirement from some aspects competition in December 2018, but has not competed since.
“I just want to be back out there again because I really miss the sport. I took a break because I felt I was doing a lot over the past 15 years nonstop, and I think my body needed a break. I feel good now; I have already restarted training and I’ve lost 13 pounds and we have between 10 to 15 pounds to lose within the next six months and that’s nothing, I can lose that within a month. Coach Glen Mills told me to do a couple of stuff so I am going to just continue doing that,” he said.
Now 33, Bailey has competed at four Olympic Games with stints in Athens, Greece in 2004; Beijing, China in 2008; London, England in 2012; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
The sprinter, who still holds the national record of 9.91 seconds over 100 meters, said the postponement of the 2020 Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic, presents an opportunity for what he believes is a fitter, more driven version of himself to qualify for the games.
“I [wasn’t] wishing for it to happen but it happens that the World Indoors is next year and the Olympics is next year, so I have a great chance now to prepare myself, even better now that I am injury free, now that I am settled, now that I am healthy. Now that I’ve learnt a lot more where my body is concerned, I really think I should give it try to attend my fifth Olympic Games,” he said.
The multiple sportsman of the year awardee said he had already begun some work prior to the coronavirus outbreak but added that he has since launched into full preparation mode since the announcement that the games will now take place in 2021.
“Carl Casey [and I] are planning to start doing some work in about September/October and we are going to be working for a couple of months and then I head to Jamaica to finish up the last part of my race and stuff like that. I am just doing this by myself, doing this for me and just see what happens. This is how I feel and I just want to go back out there to get that feeling again,” Bailey said.
Bailey was the bronze medallist over 60 metres at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships and has also won sprint medals at Caribbean regional level. He, however, came to prominence in 2009 with a 100 meters win in the IAAF Golden League and a fourth place finish at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics. He has also represented Antigua and Barbuda at the 2006 and 2014 Commonwealth Games. In 2009, Bailey was appointed head of the newly formed Athletes Commission by the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Committee.