At age 39, his 2015 season awarded him yet another National title, sub 10 second performances, and an undefeated indoor wining streak and Kim Collins continues to write his name into the record books by defying the age barrier in athletics.
TrackField97 had the opportunity to speak with the legendary St. Kitts and Nevis sprinter, after he brought the curtains down to yet another impressive season of his career. He gave us a brief breakdown of the year:“2015 had its shares of ups and downs. I started out being undefeated indoors, came back outdoors and things just changed so much. It affected my performance and I had some bad performances which is not what I’m about, but we have to understand that we are human and things happen. We can’t be super, we are not superman.”
With an outstanding career which seems to be nowhere near over, Collins spoke of how he is able to stay consistent through his ups and downs and keep on going: “First of all, I love the sport. I still feel that love and excitement each time I put my spikes on, but also for me, it’s understanding that before you do anything you must be fit.
“When you step into that background training, you have to get fit before going into whatever event you’re in, and being able to do that I’ve been able to stay injury free all these years because the body is prepared to sprint. Even though it does not sprint fast on some days, it’s prepared to sprint, and when the body is ready to go fast, it will happen.
“Once you train your body properly, you will be able to have a long and successful career, and that’s what I’ve been doing – training properly.”
Being someone who stands for something above and beyond just running, we asked him to comment on his ability to stay focused and ensure that his personality and desires come across through the sport: “You’ve just got to be yourself and if you’re a happy person, then you’re a happy person and if you’re grumpy, you’re grumpy.
“The people around you, will know and love you, and they are the fans that will come out and support you. Regardless of what, you’ve got to make sure that whatever you do represents you.
“I try to make sure I’m a good person myself. As an athlete, whenever you have the time to sign an autograph for the fans or whatever they might want, if you can, you’ve got to make sure that you do that because they are the ones that are supporting you, and we do need and appreciate the love and support.”
Some athletes are viewed as being old when they hit age 25, and many others tend to move on onto another career because of frustration in the sport at a relatively young age at times, and Collins shared his opinion on this: “It’s funny, because most people who have a normal job sometimes hate their boss, or hate their job, but they will still continue to go on working until age 65 and more.
“I love what I do and what I do is good to me, so if I can do this to 40 or 45, of course I would do it because it’s what we do and what we love. We cannot let people determine what age is old in track and field, or any sport.
“In some sports persons are able to go longer than others. You can sing until you die so who determines age? If I can compete at this level at age 45 I would. I would probably stop at 40, but it’s just the fact that if the body can do it, then why not?
“I will not quit what I love because some person have an opinion, it’s not going to work.
After missing out on the London 2012 Olympic Games due to a dispute with his National governing body, 2016 could very well see Collins competing at the Olympic Summer Games in Rio and he spoke of his plans ahead of what will be an extremely massive year for him: “The good thing is every year, I’ve learnt a lot and I think that is why I’ve been able to do better and better in terms of times each year.
“I feel next year, my goal is to go under ten seconds at age 40 and then I could move on to bigger and better things, so my goal for 2016 is to come back indoors and try to remain undefeated at IAAF World Indoor Championships, and go under 10 seconds once, and I will be happy.”
At age 37, Kim Collins equalled Linford Christie’s (Great Britain), the masters M35 world record for the men’s 100m. In July 2013, he ran under ten seconds for the sixth time of his career clocking 9.99 seconds in Budapest.
Pending ratification, Collins lowered the Masters record of Christie with a National record time of 9.96 seconds to make him the oldest man to run a sub 10 second 100m.
Collins also the owns the indoor 60m National record for St. Kitts and Nevis and improved his Masters M35 World Record with 6.47 seconds.
Interview by Marilyn Okoro
Feature & Photography by Stewart Davis