Delron Inniss never didn't always see himself as a thrower, but after a PE teacher told him to give it a try he started to excell in the sport. Last year he broke his own Bahamian hammer throw record... twice. Todd Grasley of MileSplit interviewed to find out more.
How did you get started in the sport and did you always do the throws?
Well we have a thing called "house sports" in our high schools which can be considered intramural sports. I went to the meet dressed to support my group I was placed in, and being dressed the part, and looking strong, the group coordinator placed me in the shot put on the spot. The rest is history.
So based on look he said you're in the shot group? He never saw you throw at first?
Well you can say that. I was a part of his physical education class, and he had always said to me that I seemed strong and asked if I was interested in competing in track and field. Being the reserved person that I was, I never agreed to do so, but that day I figured why not give it a try.
Do you remember your first experience throwing the shot put?
Back then I was considered to be shy, but of course being in this very demanding and social sport, that has since change ALOT! I had just entered my first year of senior high school which starts at grade 10. My first meet was dreadful, and if I can remember correctly, it was the 2003 Odd Distance track meet.
So you throw the shot for the first time and its terrible. What was going through your mind? When did you get into discus, hammer, and weight throws?
Well I knew I was new to the sport and never really doubted myself in anything. So the first meet, or actually that first year in track was the start of a foundation for me to learn and get familiar with the event. That same year I had begun to try the discus and javelin as well, and those went virtually the same. The next year however, my high school teammate and I went undefeated by any other persons in our age group in the shot put, and were considered top four in the country in the discus. I however was not a fan of the discus but did it anyway. The weight throw came around in my sophomore year of college, and I added the hammer the year after. Those two events were completely experimental.
Do you have a favorite event?
It's crazy how I find myself in love with the discus at this present time. My coach Bradley Cooper is the national record holder (67.10m) and still is present on the world's all-time list, and has converted me. I must say though, that my favorite event is the hammer throw. The only reason I'm currently not training for that event is because down here there is no location for me to practice/train without there being safety issues raised or a concern for liability issues. I guess it's just the speed, torque, explosiveness and unpredictability of the hammer that excites me.
Bradley Cooper is one of the legendary Bahamian throwers. What is it like to have an icon like that coach you? Do you look up to him as an example of where you want to be?
He is well known among the throwers' world. He has accomplished so much in his time as an athlete. He won and held the NCAA collegiate record in the discus, competed in two successive Olympic games in 84 and 88, won the Commonwealth games, and has records everywhere. I look up to him because he was literally a phenom in his years as a thrower. When he competed, he did so with a mission and has accomplished a lot. Many look at him in such a high regard, and to be coached by a man of such a status is humbling and exciting at the same time. If I can be half of the thrower he was, my career would be worth so much.
What's been your greatest accomplishment so far as a thrower?
My greatest accomplishment as a thrower thus far is setting the Bahamas' national record in the hammer about 3 times in 2010, and twice in 2011. Honestly, few Bahamians have ever tested their feet in that event, and thus makes the record that much easier to achieve, but I'm still holding that as my greatest accomplishment. It's real humbling to have that status of the best the Bahamas has had also because I'm good friends with American champions Amber Campbell and Kibwe Johnson, who too are the present best in their country, and also Gwen Berry who is another up and coming force in the hammer. They all see my steady progressions, and encourage me to continue my quest to reach the professional level that they are at, and it's that drive that I get from my accomplishments.
How has your training been so far in 2012?
2012 is a year of rebuilding for me and finding myself. When a thrower wants to get to the next level he or she must hone in their focus on to one event. I got off to a late start this year, beginning my off season in mid-November after a 6-month hiatus from any form of athletic activity, but training has been coming along. An example of a training day for me and my training partners consist of getting up and ready for 6am, running, stretches and drills, plyometrics/agility, anywhere from 30-70 throws, technique, and then gym. Quite tedious, but more so necessary.
You mentioned that when a runner wants to get to that next level they must focus on one event. What event would that be for you?
If I had to focus on an event, at this given point and given the circumstances and how my preseason was shaped, it would definitely be the discus. It has become more technical, but more revealing to me. The slightest adjustments in my body placements or actions have shown decent distances, a heap of potential, and wealth of knowledge.
What are your goals for this year?
The only national team that I am eligible for this year is the Olympics. It would be a dream to be there in London. Whether it can or will happen is unknown. I'm going to trust in God that if this year isn't my Olympic year, that 2016 won't go on without me being present.