Nassau, Bahamas – After sitting in the stands at the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium with an injury at the inaugural IAAF World Relays last year, sprinter Warren Fraser is eager to come home and help the Bahamas improve on its performance as this year’s meet next month.
Fraser, now training in Tallahassee, Florida, is slowly making his transition from a 2013 graduate of Clemson University to a full-time professional athlete.
“After I graduated from college, I feel more relaxed because the college system is quite different from the professional system,” Fraser pointed out. “I’m not running as much, but I’m training for my event. I’m more event specific, so it’s helping me to be prepared for the long haul at the (IAAF) World Championships (in August in Beijing, China).”
One of the drawbacks from being on the pro circuit is the fact that Fraser has to find a way to get over his “ups and downs” with his training.
“But overall, we are just extending our off season and I’m looking forward to running faster later on in the year,” he proclaimed. “I’m going to be ready. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to be ready, so I should be able to peak later on and not peak early. My training has been going good.”
“I’ve had some ups and downs, but it all come with the territory of competing on the pro circuit. I guess if I was still in college, I would have competed already and so I would have had a chance to iron out any problems that I experience. But not having a chance to compete yet, I still have to go through the pain of dealing with the ups and downs of just training.”
The 23-year-old, coached by Zimbabwe’s Olympic 400 metre hurdler Ken Harden (the Associate Head Coach/Director of Sprints, Hurdles and Relays at Florida State University), admitted that the pro circuit has been all that he expected and more.
“The pro circuit has been tough because everybody is fast,” he stated. “All of the guys are capable of running 9 seconds and on any given day; anyone of them can just pop up out there and run that fast. So you always have to be ready because you never know what to expect.”
“But I’m beginning to see some stuff and hopefully I can run fast enough so that I can reach the peak of the pro circuit, which is to be able to compete in the Diamond League. That’s my goal and my expectations for this year, along with the World Championships where I would like to at least make it to the final.”
Training alongside Grand Bahama Alonzo Russell, Fraser said they are both looking forward to coming home for the IAAF World Relays, scheduled for May 2-3 at the TAR Stadium.
“After I didn’t get a chance to run because I was hurt, I really hope that we get together and work out as a team,” Fraser said. “It’s already April and we haven’t had a competition and I don’t know if they have confirmed any meets for us to compete in before the relays.”
“We can have a training camp, but the training camp can only do so much. If you are not competing, it’s hard to just try to get to know someone’s strength and weakness in competition. So I really hope they can better prepare the team for the World Relays because the first one wasn’t the best.”
Not taking anything away from the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ preparation for the inaugural meet last year, Fraser said he got a chance to watch as the men’s 4 x 100m relay team got disqualified in the heats and was unable to put on a show for the Bahamian public in the final.
“The meet was hyped and the fans couldn’t wait for the Bahamians to get on the track,” he reflected. “It was just so unfortunate that the men’s 4 x 1 team didn’t make it to the final. Hopefully that will all change because if everything goes well, I am looking forward to bring right there.”
“We know that the fans will be there to support the Bahamas, so we have to be ready to go out there and give it our best shot.”
Over the past few years, the men’s 4 x 1m relay team has had to follow in the shadows of the men’s 4 x 4 team, but Fraser said the Bahamas have sufficient competitors like himself, Russell, Shavez Hart and Adrian Griffith, who if they all can get together, can help to form a formidable team, adding in one of two pieces.
“Last year, we saw a resurgence of the men’s team (Griffith, Hart, Fraser and Teray Smith), setting a national record (of 38.52 in the heats) at the Commonwealth Games (in Glasgow, Scotland where they were fifth in the final in 39.16), but national record doesn’t mean anything unless you are in the final all the time,” Fraser stressed. “But we are starting to gel together right now and we can only look forward to bigger and better things.”
“I don’t know if we will have all of our guys for the relays because we still have some who are in college. But we could do well with who we have available. The 4 x 1 is not an event where you can just stick four guys in there like the 4 x 4 and hope that they can do well. If we can get in some meets before the big championships, we will be much better prepared/
On an individual note, Fraser is also looking to redeem his runner-up spot to Hart at the BAAA’s Nationals last year. That’s where they ran one of the fastest races by Bahamians. Hart won the race in 10.11, while Fraser did 10.14. The national record is still held by Derrick Atkins in 9.91 when he got a silver at the IAAF World Championships in 2007 in Osaka, Japan.
Fraser, the national indoor 60m record holder at 6.54, is currently tied with Adrian Griffith at 10.14 with the third fastest time ever ran by a Bahamian in the century. Only Atkins and Hart have runfaster. Fraser is a 2012 Olympian, who got fourth in his heat in the straight away race.
While he’s still waiting to make his debut this year, Fraser said he’s a bit disappointed that the second Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational, originally scheduled for April 11, has been cancelled. He said the meet would have served as a great prelude to the Bahamian athletes who rarely get to compete at home before they take on the world at the relays.
Fraser, a graduate of Temple Christian High, attended Clemson State where he was the USTFCCCA Second-Team All-American, 100 (2012), USTFCCCA Second-Team All-American, 4×100 (2011), NCAA Qualifier, 100 (2011-12) & 4×100 (2011), All-ACC Academic, Indoor Track & Field (2011), All-ACC Academic, Outdoor Track & Field (2010) and USTFCCCA All-Academic (2010).
He also represented the Bahamas at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2010 in the 100 and as a member of the 4 x 1 relay team and the NACAC U-23 Championships where he helped the Bahamas pick up a silver in the 4 x 100 relay in 2012. He also was the runner-up in the 100m at the Carifta Games in 2009 and placed sixth in the 100, at the 2009 Pan American Junior Championships where he helped the Bahamas finish fifth in the 4 x 1.
Coached locally by Fritz Grant, Fraser comes from a household of sprinters that was led by his father, Ernest and includes siblings, Brad, Everette, Floyd, Ron, Deon, Devaughn and Khadisha