Gee-Gee track star breaks 30-year-old record
Photo credit: Robert Antoniuk
Third-year criminology student Sekou Kaba topped the podium in the 60-metre hurdles March 7th, in the 2014 Canadian Interuniversity Sports track and field championships with a record-setting pace of 7.79 seconds, smashing the previous CIS record of 7.83 by Canadian Olympic gold medalist Mark McKoy, which stood since 1984.
Kaba was clocking 7.89 in the preliminary heats, then conquered the final heat and beat University of Toronto rival Greg MacNeill by four tenths of a second to capture the gold medal. Kaba was honoured to beat an Olympian’s record and marked it as his proudest moment this season.
“It’s amazing to be mentioned in the same conversation as Mark McKoy,” said Kaba.
As the 2012 Francophone Games gold medalist, Kaba hopes to eventually represent Canada at the Olympic level. Kaba trains five times a week in four-hour intervals with the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club and the Gee-Gees. He’s coached by Gee-Gees program director Andy McInnis, and his training regimen consists of a combination of plyometrics, weights, sprinting, static exercises, and of course, sprinting.
Kaba readily pointed out his gratitude towards coach McInnis.
“He’s has played a large role in my maturity as an athlete and as a man,” said Kaba. “I owe him a lot.”
Looking to compete for Canada in the upcoming Commonwealth and Pan American games, the soft-spoken Gee-Gee has a huge appetite for success and is constantly looking forward to improving in competition.
Funding can be the biggest obstacle facing athletes who seek to compete on the national and international level, which are necessary steps to reach the Olympics. In Canada, the recognition of Sport Canada continues to be an essential part of achieving success in any sport. Kaba has been fortunate enough to be recognized as a developing athlete but funding continues to be an issue, since Sport Canada only covers a portion of the total costs.
“It can cost me anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 a year to compete in a given year, the majority of costs being attributed to transportation,” he said.
With a great deal of attention paid to fundraising efforts, Kaba is constantly looking for sponsorship and fundraising opportunities for him to continue his quest to represent Canada despite his continued success on the podium.
Competing in both the 60-metre and 110-metre hurdles, the latter being an Olympic event, Kaba credits the 110 metres as his specialty. Looking to improve his flat speed between hurdles and his starts for upcoming seasons, this Gee-Gee is sure to have a bright future in track and field.