Photo: Akeem Bloomfield - "Puma is a wonderful company and I am really looking forward to a long lasting relationship with them.”
Akeem Bloomfield became the latest top rated Jamaican track athlete to sign a professional contract with leading sports brand Puma. The Auburn student athlete decided to forgo the rest of his athletic scholarship to turn professional after what was a sparkling season at the collegiate level for him.
Bloomfield ran his personal best of 43.94s at the NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships earlier this month which makes him the second fastest Jamaican over the distance. The national record which is held by Rusheen McDonald stands at 43.93s.
The former Kingston College athlete admitted that the offers that were put on the table after the NCAA Championships were simply too good to refuse.
“After the NCAA Championships a lot of offers were on the table and I got some pretty good offers, too good to turn down, so I just decided to go pro and I signed a professional deal with Puma. I am really happy to sign with a brand such as Puma and I hope we have a very lucrative relationship going forward.”
Acknowledging the role that Puma has played in the development of Jamaica’s track and field for the last decade or so, the 20 year old says he is hoping to do his best while represent the Germany sports gear manufacturers.
“Puma is the backbone of Jamaica’s track and field, I am really happy to work with Puma, wearing Puma gear I feel my best and most comfortable and wearing Puma shoes I feel like I can run my fastest and I am really happy to sign with them. Puma is a wonderful company and I am really looking forward to a long lasting relationship with them.”
Despite not participating in this weekend’s National Championships taking place at the National Stadium, Bloomfield says his season is far from over as he will head to Europe in a few days.
“I will be going to Europe at the end of this month, I will have some Diamond League races. I am going to tour Europe for a little bit, run some professional races, test the waters, get the experience and then I will be heading back to the US,” he revealed.
The decision to go pro does not mean an end to his academic career however.
“Right now I am a Computer Science major, I already completed half of my degree at Auburn so I have some more classes to take before I graduate. I will be going pro and I will be paying my way through school, so I will still be studying.
Going pro was not an individual decision made by the “Champs” 400m record holder who first consulted with his mother, who continues to play a vital role in his life.
“My mom had a major role in me signing, she gave me whatever advice she had to give on what she thought of it. They (family) are very happy for me and they are pretty excited, they hope that I get the best deal possible and they are looking forward to me running fast.”
With former national champion Javon “Donkeyman” Francis collapsing in a heap on the track after completing his quarterfinal race on Saturday and Rusheen McDonald nowhere near his 43s shape, all eyes will now be on Bloomfield to carry the load in the 400m, a responsibility that does not scare the 6’6” athlete.
“I don’t think it will be a heavy burden. To be honest, I just want to go faster now. This season has really taught me to not limit myself and to think outside the box. I have an idea of certain things that need to be fixed and I think personally speaking that if I put in a lot more work, much faster times are possible and I think there is a lot left to fix.
“I am not worrying about shouldering Jamaica’s 400m, I just want to run faster and I know that once I run faster then it will fall on my shoulders anyway and I will live up to expectations once I go faster, so I am not really worried.”
With the changes in his career path, there will be changes to his life as well, all of which are still to be decided.
“The decision of a base had not been made yet but we are working on warm climate, possibly Florida could be a choice.”
As a professional athlete he will also need to decide who will now guide him on the track.
“That is still in the works, that decision has not fully been made yet. I am looking at the options right now I have not even selected a manager as yet or an agent so I am looking at those options, at what works best for me,” Bloomfield stated.