Luan Gabriel’s personal coach is predicting great things for the Isiah Thomas Secondary School student, following her historic, record-setting run at the CARIFTA Games in Bermuda at the weekend.
Coach Nabi Wallace says he expects the 15-year-old prodigy, to go very far in the athletics business.
The Bioche teenager claimed Dominica’s first gold medal ever on the track at the CARIFATA Games, by winning the Girls Under-seventeen 200 metres title.
In addition, her performance in the U-17 girls 200m semi-finals of 24.09 seconds is a new national record for both the U-17 and U-20 girls’ categories.
Luan’s coach who has been nurturing her development since 2009, sang her praises following her victory.
“Luan is the most consistent athlete I have ever trained hence the reason why it is possible to take her to the next level. Disciplined, persistent and humble are just few of the words I could use to describe the characteristics of this young lady,” Wallace stated.
However, Wallace, who is currently at UWI St. Augustine in Trinidad completing a degree in Sports Management, bemoaned the overall preparation level of the national team, whose only other win was one bronze medal in the Under 17 Girls Javelin.
He believes that many of the athletes ran on ‘raw talent’ and that more structured training programmes need to be put in place for national athletes.
However Wallace says he sees a lot of potential coming out of Dominica, and suggests that in Luan’s case she is “well poised to represent Dominica in the 2016 Olympic Games.”
Wallace has extended gratitude to those who were instrumental in facilitating the national team’s participation in Bermuda.
He singled out Trevor Shillingford (Sports Coordinator of the Sports Division), the Ministry of Sports and the Dominica Olympic Committee.
He also thanks Dani Burton and Joseph Bazil, who supervised Luan’s training in his absence.
Meanwhile the National Youth Council has called on the country’s young people to emulate Luan.
NYC President Fenella Wenham says the 15-year-old represents hope for young people in Dominica.
“I know Luan. She is a very determined young lady and what she did we can always learn from it no matter how old or young we are. She goes for training and she also has to do school but she works at it,” she said.
She said Dominica will also benefit from Gabriel’s achievement.
“She is the youngest and first athlete to win a gold medal at the CARIFTA games for Dominica and that spells well for us,” Wenham added.