Jamaican-born Tyreak Holgate Chasing Usain Bolt’s Legacy In Canada

Tyreak Holgate, 14, is looking like a future Olympian to Randy Brookes, an Ajax resident and head coach of the Durham Gazelles track and field club based in Pickering.

Holgate could certainly look for inspiration to De Grasse, a sprinter from Markham who was discovered by another local coach, Tony Sharpe, and has gone on to stardom, winning three medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

But Holgate has set his sights even higher than that. A native of Jamaica now living in Scarborough, Holgate’s hero is Usain Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist and world-record holder in both the 100-metre and 200-m sprints.

“I would follow all of Usain Bolt’s races, and I wanted to be just like him,” Holgate said in a Gazelles news release. “I still do.”

Holgate is having quite a season on the track, recently finishing second in both the 100-m and 200-m races at the Toronto elementary school championships, and first in both events at an elementary school prep meet in Oshawa hosted by the Gazelles.

But he’s overcome some hardships along the way, including missing most of last season dealing with growing pains — he’s now five-foot-11 and 140 pounds — and falling in with a bad crowd for a time.

A switch of schools and greater focus on the track has helped steer him in a better direction.

“He’s really taken on the Gazelle mantra, as far as being very friendly and welcoming and just having fun at practice,” Brookes explained. “It’s good to see because he’s a good kid, a lot of talent, and he just needed to be in an environment where he was comfortable.”

Holgate came to Canada at nine years old and lived in Ajax briefly, Brookes said, but now lives in Scarborough with his father, O’Neil.

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