By Tamica Garnett
Despite being selected by the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) to represent Guyana at the upcoming Commonwealth Games on the grounds of his multiple leading accomplishments in the athletics department, the name Jeremy Bascom is not one that is well known among most Guyanese sporting fans.
Dedicated to athletics from a very young age, the New York-based Guyanese sprinter earlier last month became the last to be confirmed on the athletics team representing Guyana at the Games that will be held in New Delhi India from the 3 – 14 October, replacing middle distant runner Marian Burnett.
The 26 year old currently stands with a pinnacled performance in the 100m displayed at the New Jersey Open and Masters Outdoor Championship at Ramapo, New Jersey in June of this year.
There, running a time of 10 seconds flat in the 100m Bascom became Guyana’s newest record holder of the male 100m title, in the process breaking the longstanding 32 year old 10.19 seconds record that was held by James Wren-Gilkes.
Bascom clocked his 10 seconds running in the heats of the 100m, before pulling a hamstring that had him unable to finish in the final.
Nonetheless, his time in the heats was accredited by the International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF), and rules as his personal best.
Speaking with Stabroek Sports via telephone, Bascom divulged that while his achievement in June had him surprised at how well he did, he had never doubted that he was going to be doing well that day.
“I knew on that day that I was going to run fast, I just didn’t know how fast I was going to run. So when I found out my time I was surprised. Yea! I was surprised.
“Since earlier that week I was saying to my coach that I was feeling good this week. And the track that I was running on was brand new track, and it was a very fast track,” Bascom disclosed.
“But then I went back and I caught a cramp in my hamstring, because I think I hadn’t drunk enough water that day and the place was pretty hot and so I was dehydrated and I couldn’t finish the race, but this is not like in Guyana where the heats don’t count, so the IAAF confirmed it.”
However, all things considered, the athlete declared that he was very proud of his performance as it illustrated a reward for all the inputs he made into producing such an accomplishment.
“Well, I feel very proud of my performance. I’ve worked very hard over the years and made a lot of sacrifices, so it’s just wonderful to see that those sacrifices and hard work paid off,” Bascom said.
At one point during this year, Bascom was ranked 11th overall for the best performances of the season, while in June his 10 seconds run had placed him as the 13th fastest, at that time placing him only five places behind world 100m sensation Usain Bolt.
Born October 15, 1983 to Glynis Fraser and Wilbert Bascom, Jeremy was born in the town of Linden, but grew up in Georgetown.
Bascom attended Richard Ishmael Secondary School, where his athletics aspirations developed, before migrating to the United States of America in the year 1997.
Opening his athletics participation in America, Bascom began by representing his high school, Erasmus Hall High, before moving on to the Long Island University. It was there, Bascom said, that his proudest athletic memories were born as he and other athletes that year, played an influential role in putting his University “on the map.”
“I’d say my proudest time was playing an instrumental role in putting my University on the map. The year I came in, me and the others that came in that year, we really stepped it up. We let others know that our University was a power house in athletics. So I’m glad that I can always look back and have that,” Bascom said.
Throughout his attendance at the University, Bascom represented the institution in several sprint distances ranging from the 55m to the 200m inclusive of the 60m and 100m, at several meets.
Participating since 2003 as a junior, Bascom represented the University at the North East Conference Indoor and Outdoor Championships, as well as the IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championship.
Bascom was also apart of two relay teams that copped wins at the prestigious Penn Relay Games. He subsequently graduated from LIU with his college degree in Business Management in 2006.
Questioned on how he managed his athletic and academic development, Bascom told Stabroek Sports, that for him the road of managing athletics while pursuing academics had been a very harsh journey.
“Dealing with athletics and school… that was probably one of the toughest things to do, especially in College when you have papers to write and stuff, and then if you want to have a social life it’s even more challenging, so you really need to be disciplined and have dedication.
“It’s a dedication that you must have for the sport, if you’re not dedicated and disciplined enough you can’t make it, You have to let the love and passion for the sport come first,” Bascom said
While acknowledging that there were those moments when pursuing athletics was challenging, Bascom established that he was always determined to go the full length never seeing giving up as an option.
“There will always be challenges, it’s a sport that you have to participate in all year round to keep up. “Last year I sprained a hamstring I was ready to give up, and then I had lower back surgery, but I don’t want to have live with the thought of what if, I don’t want to have to give it up and then have to say what if I had continued. I have to give it my all, I just can’t see myself walking away,” he declared.
He said that at times his persistence to continue rode on encouragement from his mother and coach, Kenrick Smith, a former coach of the Police Sports Club athletics club, as well as the support from his friends I’ti Bearam and training partner Lloyd Cummins.
Bascom, who in 2006 earned his college degree in Business Management, said he hopes to inspire other athletes in Guyana to be persistent with their love for the sport, and continue in their aspiration no matter what tribulations come their way.
“To athletes in Guyana I would say just never give up, no matter what people say, just continue. So long as you love what you do, and what you do isn’t hurting anyone then just do what you love. This is a sport of chances you never know when your body will just be at its peak and you’ll be able to go out and run really good, but you have to be willing to put in the pains, you have to put in the work and the sacrifices.”