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St Vincent and the Grenadines' Alexander wants to make Beijing 400m finals

9 May 2008
www.world-track.org

By Gary Smith

St. Vincent and the Grenadines star quarter miler, Kineke Alexander, is preparing herself secretly to become her country’s first-ever 400m female finallist at a major championships when she takes part in the event at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, this summer.

Easy Beijing ticket for sprinter

Alexander, a senior at the University of Iowa, was asked by her country to wear the colours in her first Olympic Games, following her two World Championships appearances, and she jokingly said it was not a big surprise.

Unlike many other Caribbean countries, such as Trinidad and Jamaica, the powerhouse in sports in region who are stocked with numerous gifted athletes and must choose from a Championships trials, St Vincent and the Grenadines does not have that depth and Alexander acknowledged this.

"I'm pretty much the only girl out there [for my country] - they really didn't have a choice," she joked.

Good to have company

Alexander won’t be in Beijing by herself though. The 22-year-old will have the company of cousin and training partner Gerard Lewis, who will also represent the country against the big guns in the men's 100 meters.

"I trained with him over winter break in December," she said. "Having another person is obviously going to be nice, so I won't be completely by myself."

Alexander will more than likely run the just the 400m in Beijing, an event in which she has a modest personal best of 51.35, achieved two-years-ago.

However, with the vast amount of talent circulating on the scene these days in the event, lowering that personal best is crucial for this year and Alexander agrees.

"I want to break 51 [seconds] by nationals (NCAA Championships)," she said. "I'm focusing on the Olympics right now, so nationals for me is just another meet to help improve on my time."

Ability is there to go ever further

With her future in the track and field world as a senior just getting its real kick start, Alexander’s coach Layne Anderson, said the sprinter has the ability to become one of the best in the world, should she continues to pursue with the same work ethic.

"I think she has the ability to be one of the top long sprinters in the world," Anderson said in an interview on the Daily Iowan on Thursday. "And if she's open-minded, she can do the 800 [meters], as well.

"If she wants to become a professional athlete, she needs to realize it's a full-time job. But for her, it's going to pay the bills," Anderson said.

She doesn’t even know her own gift

Meanwhile, Iowa assistant coach Victor Houston, a former Barbadian representative, who competed in two Olympic Games (1996 and 2000), believes the sprinter is not fully aware of her true potential just yet.

"A kid with her talent - any goal is realistic," he said.

"Her limits are endless. Kineke doesn't know how good she can be. She has an idea, but no idea how good."

After her collegiate campaign concludes in June, Alexander will continue her Beijing preparation with three competitions in July.

She will contest two meetings in Mexico and one in Columbia. The youngster will then travel Beijing, where she is expected to use the last two weeks to do final preparations for the Games.



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