AFTER a below-par 2012 season that saw her fail to win an individual medal at the London Olympic Games, Jamaican sprinter Kerron Stewart is keen on upping the ante ahead of this summer's World Athletics Championships in Moscow.
Stewart, who was speaking after the sponsorship announcement deal between her alma mater, John Mills Primary and Junior High, and hydration entity, Hi-Lyte Sport, on Tuesday, said her main goal this season is to do her best and possibly win her first major individual gold medal.
"I honestly want to give God my best, so if giving my best comes with the gold medal or no medal at all, then I'll be fine. But the aim is always to perform at my best and to win, and that's why I train so hard," the 28-year-old told the Jamaica Observer.
The fast-finishing sprint star had a stellar 2008, speeding to 10.80s, followed by twice clocking whirlwind times of 10.75s in 2009, but generally struggled last year and could only manage a comparatively pedestrian season's best of 10.94.
The 2008 Olympic and 2009 World 100metre silver medallist who has faced criticism for her dip in form, suggested that sometimes the public can be overly harsh, while intimating that the encumbrances faced last season were more mental than physical.
"Sometimes the public has a bad perception of athletes in terms of always expecting us to be on top and always expecting us to do well. I never see myself only as an athlete... I'm a person first. Being a person and a human being, sometimes things happen in your life that you have to deal with.
"Sometimes as hard as you try to get the job done or to do your career as best as you possibly can, things happen that you just have to grow from and bounce back. That's what makes you stronger," said the quiet-spoken athlete.
The former St Jago High School star insisted that instead of seeking excuses or detailing the nature of last season's challenges, her most important aim is to "move forward" and achieve further career successes in 2013.
"There are stuff (that affected me), but I'm not looking for excuses. I still have a lot inside of me and that's what I'm focusing on. I don't want to go in the past and (talk about) what has hindered me. I just want to move forward and... use that (experience) to push me," Stewart added.
The powerful sprinter who was scheduled to return to her training base in Alabama, United States on Wednesday, said although pre-season training has been tough, the preparation has been "coming along really well".