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Texas A&Mís Gittens aims to improve TT record

Narissa Fraser :: Newsday :: 02.07.2019

TT Texas-based track and field athlete Tyra Gittens says she wants to improve her national record.

Gittens, 21, earned gold in the women's heptathlon with 6,074 points, at the 2018 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Tennessee, USA, becoming the first TT athlete to surpass 6,000 points in the event. The heptathlon consists of 100 metres hurdles, high jump, shot-put, 200 metres, long jump, javelin, and 800 metres. The record was previously held by Marsha Mark-Baird, who earned 5,962 points at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Speaking with the Newsday, Gittens described her track and field experience thus far as a "roller coaster" but said she will continue to trust in God and remain focused.

"In the upcoming years, my goals are to have the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCA) heptathlon record and also to better my TT national record. Nothing compares to getting records," she said.

Gittens, who is originally from St Augustine, credited her love for the sport to her father, Sterling Gittens, who was both an athlete and a coach. She enjoyed seeing him coach her six older siblings and wanted a similar relationship with him. She is currently majoring in Leadership and Development with a minor in Sports Management and Communication at the Texas A&M University. Some of her inspirations include retired track and field athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who was the 2019 recipient of the NCAA President's Gerald R Ford Award and Belgian heptathlon and javelin athlete Nafissatou "Nafi" Thiam.

An unexpected knee injury in October left her fearful of whether she would be ready in time for the upcoming outdoor season, but she said despite the minor challenges, she is excited to see what God has prepared for her next.

"I had to get over so many mental blocks and I know I am exactly where I'm supposed to be right now. There are always ups and downs but for the most part, this season I have grown so much and I hope to grow more this summer when I represent my country," she said.


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Texas A&Mís Gittens aims to improve TT record
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US-based TT track and field athlete Tyra Gittens.

Newsday


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