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Sport

Kerron bows out

Enduring Jamaican sprinter Stewart calls time on career of 'no regrets'

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior Staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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Jamaica's 2008 Olympic 100m silver medallist Kerron Stewart, who will be retiring at the end of season, described her career as “fulfilled” with “no regrets”.

The talented sprinter who was national champion over 100m in 2008 said she will not be competing at this year's National Championships, but instead will be winding down her career on the international circuit, although a final date has not yet been set.

“I am running in Europe now... not sure where my final race will be,” noted Stewart.

The 34-year-old Stewart was part of that unique Olympic historic moment in which she tied with countrywoman Sherone Simpson for silver in 10.98.

The photo finish could not separate both women as no bronze medal was awarded. It was also a clean sweep by Jamaicans as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the gold in 10.78.

“There are so many ways I could describe my career, but one word stands out the most in my mind and that is fulfilled,” Stewart told Jamaica Observer.

“It is a great feeling to do what you love with purpose, glorifying God. I have no regrets,” she noted.

Stewart, who also has an Olympic 200m bronze medal in 2008 and three 4x100 relay gold medals earned at the 2009, 2013 and 2015 World Championships, has been instrumental in helping her small island punch above its weight and dominate the world of sprinting.

“There are many high points in my career, however, there are two that stand out vividly to date. World Juniors 2002 in Kingston, it was one of the loudest and most passionate crowd I have ever ran in front of, and 2008 Beijing Olympics was magical, the stage was set for greatness and greatness was delivered,” said Stewart.

The powerful sprinter who, despite not winning an individual gold at the highest level, is the fourth-fastest Jamaican of all time with her personal best of 10.75, which she did twice in 2009.

Only joint national record holders Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson with 10.70 and the legendary Merlene Ottey with 10.74 have gone faster.

Stewart is the ninth-fastest women in history behind the three Jamaicans, plus American world record holder Florence Griffith-Joyner (10.49), Carmelita Jeter (10.64), disgraced drug cheat Marion Jones (10.65), Frenchwoman Christine Arron (10.73) and American English Gardner (10.74).

“I honestly have to say I don't have any disappointments. I have gained and I have learnt so much as an athlete. Yes, there have been many ups and downs, but I take it all as a part of my journey and growth process, which has helped me to become a better me,” she pointed out.

“When I entered the track and field world, I knew I could not run for the rest of my life, hence I wasted no time in making my mark and helping to pave the way for others. I took every opportunity and made the best of it.

“Hanging up my spikes is not by any means an easy decision, however, I am at peace knowing that I did what I love and now it's time to move on,” Stewart added.

The former St Jago High standout won numerous gold medals at the junior level at the regional Carifta Games and was a star at Auburn University, where she was named the 2007 South Eastern Conference (SEC) Runner of the Year and the United States Track and Field and Cross County Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Runner of the Year after capturing the SEC and NCAA Championships in the 60m and the 200m.

She was named All-American seven times and one of the best athletes in the school's history.

But Stewart is not leaving athletics all together and will be giving back one way or another.

“Track and field is something that you really never walk away from, so I will be coaching, managing and mentoring athletes. We all have a part to play in helping and guiding the next generation, and I intend to play my part,” said Stewart.

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