Sports

Sports Profile: Teen Athlete Kayla Charles Speaks About Success

Kayla Charles (Photo: Anthony De Beauville)

SHE is only 12 years old but already creating a scare amongst her peers in track and field when on the starting line. Her career started at age three and she is a former student of Dame PearletteLouisy Primary School. Her name is Kayla Charles and she is currently a form one student at Entrepot Secondary School.

Kayla caught The VOICE’s attention during her breathtaking 150-metres final at the Mindoo Phillip Park where she represented her school in the Northern Zone qualifier for the Inter- Secondary Schools Games where she qualified in a time of 21.09 seconds.

Kayla Charles (Photo: Anthony De Beauville)
Kayla Charles (Photo: Anthony De Beauville)

She is a member of the Survivors track and field club and under the watchful eyes of head coach, Cuthbert Modeste.

She spoke to The VOICE in a recent interview.

The VOICE: What is your favourite subject, why, and what other subjects are you studying presently?

Charles: My favourite subject is Integrated Science because I like experimenting. My other subjects are English A, English B, Maths, Wood Work Technology, Social Studies, French, Spanish, Arts, HFLE, PE, Food and Nutrition and Research Methods.

The VOICE: How did it all start for you in track and field?

Charles: It all started when I was at pre-school. I participated in my school’s fun sports and won two gold medals. I took them home to show my parents. My father, who is a former athlete, congratulated me and told me to continue running because he was an athlete and wanted the same for me. I moved on to Dame PearletteLouisy Primary School where I continued taking part in all track events and won every race. I also represented my school at the Inter-District Primary School competitions until Grade 6.

The VOICE: Who encouraged you to run?

Charles: Both of my parents did, especially my father, Mervin Charles.

The VOICE: Do your parents also encourage you by supporting you at the various track and field championships?

Charles: Yes, I receive 100% support from both of my parents.

The VOICE: Is anyone in your family involved in athletics or any other sport?

Charles: My father is a former athlete and my uncle Julian Charles, a former National, Windward Islands and West Indies B cricketer. During his playing years, my uncle also captained the Saint Lucia and Windward Islands cricket teams respectively.

The VOICE: What other sports have you participated in before track and field, and why the switch?

Charles: I did some swimming at first but switched because my passion is track.

The VOICE: What is your biggest accomplishment in your sports career?

Charles: Attaining the award for Female Sports Person of the Year at Dame PearletteLouisy Primary School, as well as winning gold medals at secondary school and qualifying for this year’s Inter-Secondary Schools Track and Field Competition.

The VOICE: Who are your favourite local, regional and international athletes, and why?

Charles: My favourite local athlete is Julien Alfred and regional and international, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, because of the determination and confidence they display in ensuring that they win their races.

The VOICE: Who are your sports heroes and what do you admire most about them?

Charles: Sports heroes, Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Camelitta Jetta and Allison Felix. I admire their determination and drive.

The VOICE: What is your favourite event, and why?

Charles: At present, the 150-metres because I am able to apply my running techniques throughout the race.

The VOICE: How do you prepare for a championship?

Charles: I prepare for a championship by increasing my training load and learning the various running techniques with my coach.

The VOICE: When was the first time you represented your school, and how many times?

Charles: To date, I have represented my current school at the qualifying rounds for the Inter-Secondary Schools Championship once. But while attending Dame PearletteLouisy Primary School, I represented the school throughout my tenure there.

The VOICE: How were your performances?

Charles: In terms of performance, I have always been in the top three.

The VOICE: How many medals have you won to date?

Charles: My last count was approximately 35 medals.

The VOICE: How far you would like to go in representing your school and Saint Lucia by extension?

Charles: I would like to continue representing my school at Inter-Sec and, obviously, the CARIFTA Games, Commonwealth Youth Games, World Juniors and the Olympics at some point in my career.

The VOICE: What do you think are keys to your success?

Charles: Keys to my success are mainly my continuous training, determination and support from my parents.

The VOICE: From where do you draw your inspiration?

Charles: I draw my inspiration from God and my parents.

The VOICE: What is your favourite meal?

Charles: My mummy’s Mac and Cheese.

The VOICE: What do you do during your spare time, when not in training/competition?

Charles: When not in training, I continue to focus on my school work.

The VOICE: Do you have a saying or a motto you live by?

Charles: If you believe in your goal, you will achieve it.

The VOICE: What words of advice or encouragement do you have for younger athletes at your school?

Charles: Once you believe in your goal, continue striving to achieve it.

The VOICE: Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share?

Charles: Oh, yes, certainly. Remember to always put God first in everything you do.

Anthony De Beauville is The VOICE Publishing Company’s multi-award winning sports journalist. He works closely with a number of sports federations including the Department of Youth Development and Sports, the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee and other organizations.

He covers and contributes articles highlighting the areas of international, regional, national, community based clubs and schools sporting activities. There is never an off day as he stays busy... Read full bio...

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