The Commonwealth Games has given Brandonite DeLohnni Nicol-Samuel even more motivation for his future.
The 22-year-old competed in the 1,500-metre race while representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the Games in Glasgow, Scotland last month, finishing his heat in three minutes 58.40 seconds. It wasn’t a time he was happy with, but that’s not the most valuable part of Nicol-Samuel’s experience overseas.
"It brought to my eyes some things that I would change in training and stuff I can incorporate," the 5-foot-9, 130-pound middle-distance runner said.
"I was able to talk to some of the bigger athletes there and get some different training ideas. Even more realization that I want to compete at and run alongside them. I didn’t compete as well as I would have liked, but to get to see what it will take to get there is a great thing to learn."
Nicol-Samuel didn’t have a lot of time in Scotland. He arrived on July 27 and spent three days trying to adjust to the time change, train and watch his fellow athletes who were representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines before running his heat on July 30.
After his race, he found a little more free time to explore and just enjoy the experience of being in an international event.
"It was a great experience," he said. "I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, but it was my first Commonwealth Games. It was an experience and something to take forward to the next one."
Nicol-Samuel, who spent four years racing for the Campbell University Fighting Camels in Buies Creek, N.C., is returning to the state to train full time to make that goal come true. His focus will be on the 800 and 1,500 metres, but he may dabble in the 400 and 5,000 every so often.
While he’s always looking at improving his time and returning to the Commonwealth Games in four years, Nicol-Samuel has set some bigger goals to shoot for as well and is looking at some other competitions that will happen in the near future.
"There’s Central American and Caribbean Games in November; next summer there’s world championships and Pan Am Games," he said. "It all pretty much depends on how well it goes and hopefully I’ll be running fast enough to qualify for those games.
"Looking more long-term, it’s definitely the Olympics. That’s the main goal is to try to make one of those."