Teenage dream: BVI's 18-y-o sprinter Hodge out to inspire others as historic Paris Olympic Games appearance beckons

By July 10, 2024
HODGE...I want to continue to make history to inspire the younger generations to pursue their dreams. HODGE...I want to continue to make history to inspire the younger generations to pursue their dreams.

It is often said that age is just a number, and rising sprint sensation Adaejah Hodge agrees it is indeed just that.

For Hodge, achieving the biggest milestone of her career –an Olympic Games appearance –at 18 years old is merely a testament to her extraordinary talent and determination.

Hodge, who is set to represent the British Virgin Islands in the 200 metres, will be the youngest athlete to contest the event at the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, marking another historic moment in her burgeoning career.

The diminutive sprinter, who won the 100m and 200m at her National Championships, will join seasoned 400m hurdles campaigner Kyron McMaster, sprinter Rikkoi Brathwaite, and Sailing representative Thad Lettsome in flying the BVI flag.

“Making the Olympic team is huge for me considering it has been a dream of mine since I started my track and field career, and I believe it is another testament to all the hard work and dedication I’ve put into my training,” Hodge told SportsMax.TV.

“Achieving this at this point in my career has given me the confidence for future championships and world events. I’m always excited to represent the British Virgin Islands on the world stage and I’m ready to give it my all,” she added.

Though it will be her first time at the global multi-sport showpiece, Hodge is no stranger to world class competition, as she contested the women’s 200m semi-finals at last year’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Having savoured that experience, Hodge, is not only ready to shine brightly on the Olympic stage, but more importantly, prove that with hard work, faith, and unwavering support, anything is possible.

“I’ve enjoyed many highs this season, and again this (Olympic Games achievement) is just another that illustrates the level of talent and ability that I have, and there were also the tough times when I endured a metatarsal stress fracture. During that injury, I learned how resilient and determined I can be once I have a goal and the right support group,” said Hodge, who has personal best times of 11.11s and 22.33s for the 100m and 200m.

“It is this determined mentality that I have maintained for the Olympic Games, I am studying the field (some of the top athletes I will go up against) and most importantly trusting in God. I know He has been faithful throughout this entire season and that He has a great plan for me. But while trusting in God’s plan, I also know I have to put in the work physically by giving 110% in every workout and making sure my rest is on a champion level status,” she shared.

Hodge’s passion for running was evident from a young age, as she was captivated by the sport and spent countless hours honing her skills. Her natural talent was soon recognized, and she began to compete in regional events.

In fact, at the Carifta Games in 2022, she won gold in the 100m, 200m and the long jump to cop the coveted Austin Sealy Award, and since then, has quickly risen through the ranks. That same year in 2022, she was named Georgia High Schools Association Track and Field Athlete of the Year, following outstanding performances for Montverde Academy.

“I was introduced to track and field from a very young age. During my preschool days we had an annual event where we would do many events and that’s where I fell in love with the sport. From that moment forward, my career grew because of my love for challenges and earning new achievements in this sport,” she explained.

“It can be hard for many people to be in my shoes, but with the level of love and dedication I have for this sport it isn’t hard for me. Although training is sometimes tough, I enjoy those gruelling sessions because it’s allowing me to grow and become the person I aspire to be,” Hodge, who currently attends University of Georgia, noted.

While her growth in the sport mainly due to her exceptional ability, Hodge was quick to point out that nothing she has achieved to date would be possible without the immense sacrifice and unwavering support from her mother.

“My mom has been my rock and my biggest motivation to push beyond the challenges because I’ve seen the sacrifices she has made for me. She’s opened many doors for me to ensure I had every opportunity to pursue my dreams and inspired me to take chances that may have been scary at the time. So I want to make her proud and show her that all her sacrifices were worth it,” the bubbly athlete reasoned.

Despite her youth, Hodge exudes confidence and maturity beyond her years, and so her determination and focus on giving her best performance at the Paris Games comes as no surprise.

After all, Hodge is well aware that carries with her the hopes of BVI and the inspiration of aspiring young athletes everywhere.

 “I have no nerves going into Paris because I’ve been on the World stage prior to these games and, like I said before, this is all a part of God’s plan. Of course I will probably get some butterflies in the check in area but it’s nothing too stressful,” she declared. 

“I just want to continue to grow in this sport and make my country proud. But more than that, I want to continue to make history to inspire the younger generations to pursue their dreams, no matter how big they may seem,” Hodge ended.

NB: The Paris Olympic Games scheduled for July 26 to August 11, will be live on SportsMax and the SportsMax App.

 

Sherdon Cowan

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

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