A strong believer in self and God, Danielle Sloley aims to capitalise on her wild card opportunity to further thrust her athletic development at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
“This is one of the biggest launching pads that I can see in my athletic career as a junior, and I really believe that it has started me on the stream to being a pro athlete by exposing me to the international level at this early stage,” said Sloley, who won this year’s Girls’ Champs shot put title with a record 15.99m throw to claim back-to-back titles.
Actually, Sloley might even consider being lucky to be at the championships, having got a wild card entry to the global showcase for the world’s best junior athletes. She numbers among a 13-member team of representatives under the flagship of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), which is fostering the development of youthful sporting talent under the theme ‘Generation Next’.
“I was so surprised when I heard that I got a wildcard, like ‘wow’, just to have such a big organisation recognise me, it was really, really overwhelming,” she exclaimed.
“I feel like I have to do the IAAF a big, big, big, big favour by going out there and representing them well because they’re the ones that selected me.”
Being a beneficiary, it is not surprising that Sloley embraces the whole concept of a wild card.
“I think it’s actually pretty amazing giving the athletes a chance to compete at an international level and I believe that it just gives everybody this stage to just put themselves out there and just reach where they’ve never reached before,” she said.
This is true for the Immaculate Conception High School first-year sixth-former, who was selected as captain of the girls’ team by the JOA, another feather in her cap.
“To be captain of such an amazingly talented group of people is really overwhelming to me, because just to be around them, their vibe, their energy, everything about them is just so rejuvenating. They make the experience worthwhile,” admitted Sloley, who seems to bask in her role.
“As captain I’ve to treat them like they’re at home; wake them up early, just ensure that they eat properly, ensure that they know what time we have meetings, when to get ready and for ceremonies, help them to get up and be prepared.”
Selection also has created another landmark for Sloley, who will be competing at this level for the first time. That in itself does not phase her.
“I’m a firm believer [that] as long as you work hard and you trust in God anything is possible, so that’s what I’ve come out here with. So I believe that I will do what I’m supposed to do on the day and wherever that places me I’ll be satisfied,” she said.
“I just expect to go there to compete to the best of my ability; do my country proud, do my family proud and do God proud as well. My preparations had been pretty effective leading up towards Girls’ Championships. We had to strategically place my rest periods so right now I think I’m at a good place to represent my country,” added Sloley.