By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Three years after picking up the Discus as well as the Shot Put, Eldred Henry ends his first year throwing the senior implements with the best mark ever by an athlete from the OECS region and a #68 ranking on the IAAF World list in the Discus Throw.
Henry who ended the year with a personal best of 61.90m in the Discus and 17.34m in the Shot Put placed fourth and fifth respectively in the NACAC U23 Championships in Canada to end his first senior season.
“To my surprise, I did pretty good because I wasn’t expecting to make the adjustment so fast—I was expecting it—but not as well as I did because I surpassed my personal best in the Discus by a lot of meters,” he reflected. “In the Shot, I was expecting it to be a challenge to get up there but I got pretty close. Overall, for my first year with the senior implements, I did pretty good. Next year is to learn and improve from there.”
Having an opportunity to compete against professionals including at the Commonwealth Games, Henry says he now sees the amount of work he’s required to put in.
He described his Commonwealth Games venture as ‘the greatest experience of his life so far’ as he has never experienced performing before such a large crowd. He said there was an element of both anxiety and nervousness to get out and perform and he rushed the phases of his throws. But, he took away a wealth of experience.
“When you see those guys go into the ring, they are so nice and relaxed,” he observed. “They put that speed on and the Discus just goes out by itself. So now I know with I have to do to improve beyond them.”
His Central Arizona Coach Tony Dougherty described the 6’5’ and 350 pounds specimen as ‘incredible.’
“For his second year competing in athletics and his first year in college he’s had a great year and he’s only going to go up from here,” Dougherty noted. “He has thrown the senior implement further than he has thrown the junior implement in the Discus and he’s going to be a world class thrower—no question. We just have to take him slow and easy. But we are looking for big things from him next year.”
Dougherty said he can’t put numbers on what Henry will do but at Central sophomores have blossomed from their freshman year every year for the last 15 years. “The fact that he didn’t ‘blossom’ this year, he’s going to go really big,” Dougherty said.
He says Henry is on time, respectful, attend classes and is a good student athlete and has some work to do academically.
Skill wise, Henry will be introduced to the Hammer Throw this fall and Dougherty said if noting else it will give him better balance while giving him a break from the Shot and Disc. Since they compete indoors, the Shot would be too repetitive and it will make his feet smarter and his body in moving and turning throwing the Hammer.
“He’s going to become a better athlete—more agility, better balance, better stamina so it will help,” he said.