AUSTRALIAN sprinter Andrew McCabe travelled to Jamaica to learn the secrets that made the tiny Caribbean nation the powerhouse of world athletics, but left with predictions he could be Australia’s greatest-ever sprinter and a deal to be co-managed by Usain Bolt’s agent.
The alliance means 22-year-old McCabe could be entered alongside Bolt in some of the blue-riband events around the globe and opens the door to potential sponsorships.
McCabe, who ran against Yohan Blake in the heat of the 4×100 metres relay when Jamaica broke the world record at the London Olympics, won over the 30,000-strong crowd at the National Stadium in Kingston – the equivalent of a cricketer playing at Lord’s – when he won the 200m event.
”He was the only white man on the track and to win was a mighty effort,” said Competitive Edge’s Hayden Knowles, who took a troupe of Australian sprinters to Jamaica last month. ”On the day he ran there was 150 heats of the 200m and 1200 athletes had entered. They were there for junior events, schools, college and senior races but to see 1000 people waiting to run was an eye-opener.”
However, McCabe used his track time to catch the eye of Bolt’s manager, Norman Peart, and Jamaica’s head athletics coach, Maurice Wilson, to show he was a natural-born talent. His effort was described by Wilson’s right-hand man, Jamaican Olympian Xavier Brown, as ”perfect” and an indication he was destined for stardom.
”He ran the perfect race,” Brown said. ”He did the drive phase the same as coach Wilson showed him at training. He did the first 50 metres well, he did the transition, came into the straight and maintained. Andrew is going to be a very good sprinter, give him time and he will be, maybe, the best ever in Australia.”
Knowles, who oversees the Pirtek Athletic Allstars, was excited by the opportunities awaiting McCabe.
”Andrew is contracted to me until the Rio Olympics but after our trip his management team was extended to include Norman Peart, Usain Bolt’s manager, because they see great potential. Norman made it clear he wanted to get Andrew’s career moving. They’ve invited him back to compete and train in Jamaica in May and it’s tremendous. The trip was an exciting time for Andrew and all the team, because they were exposed to some great people like Don Quarrie [the 1976 200m Olympic champion] and his advice for Andrew was to make things happen.”
Wilson said McCabe and the Competitive Edge troupe had highlighted to Jamaica’s runners the importance of discipline. ”I’m impressed … They proved to be very fast learners and what they brought to us was an appreciation for discipline and time management,” he said.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.