15 JUL 2007 General News Ostrava, Czech Republic

You need to work hard to be the World Youth champion - says Ramone McKenzie

Ramone McKenzie of Jamaica on his way to gold in the 200m final (Getty Images)Ramone McKenzie of Jamaica on his way to gold in the 200m final (Getty Images) © Copyright

If there was only one thing Ramone McKenzie learnt from his participation at the 5th IAAF World Youth Championships, is how to become a World champion.

After winning the boys' 200m final in 20.67, the joint second fastest time in the world this year, McKenzie said he has learnt that "in order to be a World champion, you need to be relaxed and meditate on all your races"

"Once you do that, it will work, trust me," added McKenzie.

While saying this experience will help him a lot, McKenzie, said when he reaches home, he will pass one to younger athletes "only hard work pays off, so if you want to be successful, you have to be willing to work hard."

He also said: "I would like to be a positive example for kids in Jamaica"

McKenzie, who turns 17 on November 15, said so far, in eight years of doing track & field, he has enjoyed every minute of his time on the track.

"It’s a very fun sport, and I like it. It's very easier than others (sports) to me," he said while saying thanks to his mother Lorraine McKenzie, one of his biggest supporters and his coach at Calabar High School Michael Clarke.

Though he described the race as the hardest of his youth career, McKenzie praised the victory more than everything else he has achieved so far.

"This was one of the hardest races I have ever done. I had to think over my race a lot (before the start), so this was one of the hardest one," he repeated.

"I was not really bordered at the start (of the race), but towards the end when the guy beside me (Ramil Guliyev of Azerbaijan) came up along side, my legs got tight, but had to deep in towards the finish line," said McKenzie, who admires Portugal's Olympic silver medallist Francis Obikwelu.

However, after all is said and done, he said: "It (the win) means a lot to me, because it was a part of my programme to come here and win."

"It's a great feeling," he said about winning the gold.

He also made mention that the Jamaican-like weather helped him very much.

"I am used to this climate, I don't mind the heat," said McKenzie, who joins 2003 winner Usain Bolt as Jamaican 200m winners at World Youth Championships since its inception in 1999.

The start of the race wasn't good so I was happy at the end. I wear these sunglasses only for fashion. I have been training for eight years. I would like to be as fast as Francis Obikwelu.

McKenzie, who wants to become chemical engineer, after the race, said "my big motivation today (Sunday) was to walk in the footsteps of Asafa Powell."

Anthony Foster for the IAAF