“The measure of a man is not whether he falls down, but whether he gets up again.” ~Anonymous
A few years ago, after the Jamaican triumphs in Beijing and Berlin, an IAAF team visited Jamaica to do a feature on our Track and Field program. A shy then 12 or 13 year old Devaughn Baker of Jamaica College told the IAAF representative that he wanted to do well at track and field so that he could help his mother of whom he spoke glowingly.
At Champs 2013 he was the toast of Boys Class Two 400m, winning the finals in a record breaking 46.64 accounting for Jaheel Hyde and Martin Manley in the fastest Class Two 400m finals ever as the top three dipped below the 47 seconds barrier. Baker was expected to dominate and went to the 2013 World Junior Championships as one of the favourites to win gold.
He looked jaded in the semi-finals and was beaten out of sight as team-mate Martin Manley struck gold. Jaheel Hyde's exploits since then have taken him to three global age group titles and Manley recovered after a sub par 2014 to strike gold at the Youth Olympic Games last summer.
Baker went into a slump and a combination of injuries and loss of confidence saw him being a non factor at 'Champs' 2014 although many didn't see anyone offering a legitimate challenge to two time defending champion Javon 'Donkey Man' Francis.
Many wrote him off...confining him to the graveyard littered with the bones of once promising high school athletes.
But then Baker began showing signs of coming out of his slumber at the UTech Classic and then at the Penn Relays where he was instrumental in Jamaica College's shock win in the Championship of America High School Boy's 4x100m relay.
With his form, fitness and confidence back the Class Two 400m record holder is expected to challenge for the Class One title in 2015 and could again showcase his talent as one of the best prospects over one lap event. He looked in good touch at the Wesley Powell Track and Field Meet at Excelsior High School in December when winning his heat over 300M.
He ran 2:15.84 to finish 71st overall in the 800 for class one boys on his home ground at the recent Jamaica College/Pure Wata Development meet.