THIS past week has seen a lot of junior talented athletes and among them was distance runner Samuel Lynch, who last Monday established himself as Guyana’s men’s 800m champion, following a silver medal performance in the same event last month at the SouthSamuel LynchAmerican Junior Championships.“Even though I’ve been running 10 years now it’s only in the last 2 years that I’ve really started to take things seriously because I was young and in your small days you don’t really take things serious. So here I am now trying to reach the top,” the 18-year-old athlete remarked.For the Running Brave Athletics Club athlete last Monday’s performance was the result of his determination and discipline. Lynch ran the race of his life, for a come-from-behind victory, after coming out from fourth place in the last lap to win the race, barely ahead of the second-place finisher Quacy Morian.This was after Lynch ran a new personal best the day before in the men’s 400m, where he finished in second place – his first sub 50 seconds time was 49.50.“I just said to myself ‘you ran really fast yesterday’ so I went out there when was the last time I don’t know what happened something just went in me and I said ‘run Samuel run, the other guys are right there’,” was all he needed to tell himself, to sprint through the final 200m of the race.For Samuel the performance marked quite an accomplishment, representing the beginning of just how far he wants to go with his skills, especially now that he has completed school, and is entering that period where many athletes usually end up leaving the sport.Lynch has been with the Running Braves Athletics Club since he was nine years old, shortly after he started competing at the School Nationals.Starting out at the Nationals in the Boys’ Under-10 category in 2008, Lynch finished with three silver medals and a bronze, and took the champion boy title in his category. It was Lynch’s teachers, while he was at Stella Maris Primary who decided that Lynch had a lot of energy and needed to do something productive with it.Lynch comes from a family with an athletic background, particularly his grandfather who was a sprinter.After his first year at Nationals, Lynch has never missed a year since, even after he moved from Primary School to Queenstown Secondary. Though he now concentrates on the distance and middle distance races, Lynch has done it all, and used to be an reasonable sprinter before his coach, Julian Edmonds noticed a distance runner in him.Lynch then began to perform regionally, breaking out at the Trinidad’s Hampton Games in 2009, and then again in 2010.Last year he finally made it to the team to represent Guyana at the CARIFTA Games. He was again on the team this year after making the qualifying time, at the trials clocking his current 800m personal best – 1:54.57s.Though he did not medal at the Games, he turned his luck around at the South American Juniors where he took silver.Having just completed his CSEC examinations, the former Chase Academy student is now contemplating his next move, and whatever it is, he just knows it will involve becoming as great an athlete as he wants to be.
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BJ Botha replaces Steven Archer and tighthead, while behind them O’Connell forms a second row partnership with Billy Holland.O’Mahony’s return at blindside sees CJ Stander move to number 8.Tomorrow evenings game kicks off at 5 o’clock at the Sportsground. Anthony Foley’s side lie 3rd in the League standings with Connacht in 6th. Tipperary’s Tommy O’Donnell will line out for Munster in their Pro 12 clash with Connacht on New Years Day.The Cahir man retains his place at openside in a starting 15 which shows five changes from the side which started against Leinster.Internationals Simon Zebo, Paul O’Connell and captain Peter O’Mahony all return to the starting fifteen.