New Levell: Former Edwin Allen sprinter overcomes High school injury struggles to achieve Olympic dream

By July 09, 2024
LEVELL...Honestly, I was demotivated a lot of times, especially when the injuries occurred. LEVELL...Honestly, I was demotivated a lot of times, especially when the injuries occurred.

There is no doubt that the journey to athletic excellence is a path often fraught with challenges, but for Bryan Levell, the hurdles he faced in his final year at Edwin Allen High School only served to strengthen his resolve.

Though frustrated that a troublesome hamstring strain kept him off the track for much of that season, Levell used the time to focus on rehabilitation and conditioning, and his patience and perseverance paid off, as he made a remarkable comeback at the JAAA National Senior Championships recently.

Not only did Levell break the 10-second barrier in the men’s 100m when he clocked a new personal best 9.98s in semis, he also went sub-20 seconds over the 200m to claim his first national title in another lifetime best of 19.97s at the National Stadium.

But beyond all that is the fact that the 20-year-old, as a first-year professional, defied the odds and secured a spot on Jamaica’s team for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games.

Levell eases across the line ahead of Andrew Hudson in the men's 200m final.

“It’s a great feeling. Representing Jamaica at the Olympics has always been my dream, and to achieve it in my first year in the professional ranks is beyond words, but I believe it is a testament to my hard work, dedication, and passion to go as far as I can in athletics,” Levell told Sportsmax.TV.

“Last year I was out for a couple of months due to a hamstring injury so I couldn’t get to participate in my final year at Boys’ and Girls’ Champs, which was incredibly frustrating, but thanks to God and my coach Shanikie Osbourne I am now healthy and stronger this year. It wasn’t easy, but we fought through the challenges, put in the work in training and we got it done,” he added.

Despite the physical and emotional toll of persistent injuries, which threatened to derail his transition to the professional level, Levell refused to throw in the proverbial towel.

Instead, the decorated Champs, Carifta, and Under-20 World Championship medalist, worked tirelessly with coach Osbourne to get through what he said is the toughest period of his athletic life to date.

“Honestly, I was demotivated a lot of times, especially when the injuries occurred, but I always kept the bigger picture in mind and encouraged myself that it wasn’t the end and I still had time because I was young. So at times, I was more focused on the comeback as opposed to the situation, and my family and coach were also pillars of strength,” Levell shared.

“I also knew the transition would be tough and would require a lot more work, but I was determined and ready to give it everything, and I was surrounded by a great support system, and that made all the difference,” he noted.

Levell in full flight during the 200m semis.

While looking ahead to the Paris Games, Levell also reflected on the lessons learnt along the way, as he stands ready to embrace the challenges to come with the same level of determination and focus on his goals.

“I would say it was all a big lesson for me to trust the process, be patient and never to give up. So I am working on both my mental and physical preparation for Paris, obviously it will be my first time on the world’s biggest stage and I want to do well…I want to continue improving and make my mark on the sport,” Levell declared.

“So my aim is just to focus on my lane in Paris, execute as best as I can and then take it from there. There’s a lot more I want to achieve so I just want to stay healthy, continue to put in the work and just be the best version of myself,” the soft-spoken athlete ended.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

Related items

  • Ackera Nugent shows off her flat speed at Ed Murphey Track Classic with quick 100m dash Ackera Nugent shows off her flat speed at Ed Murphey Track Classic with quick 100m dash

    Ackera Nugent, the newly crowned national 100m hurdles champion and Jamaica's record-holder, continues to dazzle on the track with a stellar performance in the 100m at the Ed Murphy Classic in Tennessee.

    The rising star showcased her speed proving she is a force to be reckoned with as she prepares for her Olympic debut in Paris later this month.

    In the women's 100m event, Nugent blazed through the heats, clocking an impressive 11.15s to qualify with the fastest time heading into Friday's finals. In the final showdown into a headwind of 0.9m/s, Nugent ran a swift 11.17s, securing a commendable second place behind Nigeria’s Favor Ofili, who won with a time of 11.13 seconds. Liberia’s Maia McCoy finished third, crossing the line in 11.32 seconds.

    Nugent's performance is drawing already comparisons to the legendary American Gail Devers, celebrated for her achievements in both the 100m and 100m hurdles. Despite her primary focus being on the hurdles, Nugent expressed satisfaction with her 100m run, stating, "This was just to get a little speed work in before Paris. I'm pleased with my time, considering I'm not specifically training for the 100m. Running 11.1 in the 100m is satisfying. I have a fondness for the event, even though it's not my focus."

    Nugent's performance at the Ed Murphy Classic highlights her versatility and potential as she continues her preparation for the Olympics. Her ability to excel in both the hurdles and the 100m sprints adds a dynamic edge to her athletic profile, making her one to watch in Paris.

    Adding to the Jamaican contingent's impressive showing, Danielle Williams also demonstrated fine form in the 100m hurdles. The 31-year-old, who will be making her Olympic debut after securing two gold medals and a bronze at the World Championships, finished third with a time of 12.81 seconds. Denisha Cartwright of the Bahamas clocked 12.73 seconds to take second place, while Christina Clemons of the USA won the event in 12.61 seconds.

  • T&T athletes bracing for heat in and out of competition at Paris Olympics T&T athletes bracing for heat in and out of competition at Paris Olympics

    With temperatures in Paris expected to be high during the upcoming Olympic Games, Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic Committee (TTOC) is taking steps to ensure that the 17 athletes will be comfortable enough both in and out of competition to give of their best for the twin island republic.

    Though the likes of athletics stalwarts Keshorn Walcott, Jereem “The Dream” Richards, Michelle-Lee Ahye, and cyclist Nicholas Paul are experienced campaigners at the highest level, and know how to handle the heat of world class competition, it’s the heat off the track in the French capital is expected to pose a challenge.

    However, TTOC president Diane Henderson, is not too concerned.

    “In any country, we have always dealt with... when it was extremely cold in Lima, Peru, we had to go out and buy heaters, headwear and gloves, so it’s no different,” Henderson said during the team’s Puma Gear Reveal at TTOC’s headquarters, on Friday.

    With the Games organisers taking an eco-friendly approach, the Olympic Village will not have air condition units. As such, some countries, including United States, will supply their own AC units in order to ensure the comfort of athletes as they strive for optimal performance.

    Henderson pointed out that TTOC stands ready to provide the necessary assistance to meet the needs of the athletes.

    “If the conditions are such, we would have to get fans or something in Paris to deal with that. We’re aware of it so we could always deal with that when we go. It has never been an issue when we have to go out and get stuff. Usually you have the assistants who would guide you effectively and say where we could get the necessary equipment,” she explained.

    Sprinters Ahye and Elijah Joseph were among the athletes that modelled the new Team TTO uniforms on Friday, as they gear up for battle on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

    “We have always wanted to do something to showcase the uniforms. It brings a lot of pride to the athletes and they feel really special. I think it went well. We’re always grateful to Puma for this sponsorship and partnership. It’s very important to have that support continuously for all our multi-sport Games,” Henderson noted.

    Trinidad and Tobago Olympic squad:  

    Athletics –Michelle-Lee Ahye - 100m & 4x100 relay; Leah Bertrand- 100m & 4x100 relay; Sole Frederick- 4x100 relay; Akilah Lewis- 4x100 relay; Sanaa Frederick - 4x100 relay (Reserve); Portious Warren- Shot Put; Keshorn Walcott- Javelin; Jereem Richards- 200m, 400m & 4x400 relay; Devin Augustine- 100m; Jaden Marchan- 4x400 relay; Shakeem Mc Kay- 4x400 relay; Renny Quow- 4x400 relay; Elijah Joseph- 4x400 relay (Reserve)

    Cycling –Nicholas Paul, Kwesi Browne

    Swimming –Dylan Carter - 50m and 100m Freestyle; Zuri Ferguson- Backstroke 100m

     

     

  • Beckford warms up for Olympic debut with win at Ed Murphey Classic Beckford warms up for Olympic debut with win at Ed Murphey Classic

    Jamaican national high jump champion Romaine Beckford warmed up for his Olympic debut in a few weeks with a win at the 2024 Ed Murphey Classic in Memphis on Thursday.

    Beckford, the 22-year-old two-time NCAA Champion, produced a winning jump of 2.20m on his only attempt at the height after producing clearances at 2.10m and 2.20m.

    He then had three failed attempts at 2.25m after he had done enough to secure victory ahead of American Vernon Turner (2.15m) and Bahamian Shaunie Miller Jr (2.15m).

    Elsewhere in the field on Thursday, Chanice Porter produced 6.50m to finish second in the women’s long jump while Bermuda’s Jah-Nhai Perinchief won the men’s triple jump.

    The 30-year-old Porter, who will also be representing the nation in Paris, produced 6.50 in the sixth and final round of the competition to move up into the top three.

    The competition was won by Nigerian Ruth Usoro with 6.70m while Trinidad & Tobago’s Tyra Gittens was third with 6.35m.

    Perinchief produced 16.82m to win the triple jump ahead of Americans Omar Craddock (16.64m) and Chris Bernard (16.30m).

    The meet continued on Friday with the track events. Newly crowned national 100m hurdles champion and record holder, Ackera Nugent, ran 11.17 to finish second in the women’s 100m behind Nigeria’s Favor Ofili (11.13). Liberia’s Maia McCoy was third in 11.32.

    The women’s sprint hurdles saw Bahamian Denisha Cartwright produce 12.71 for second behind American Christina Clemons (12.61). Jamaican two-time World champion Danielle Williams ran 12.81 in third.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.