THE first time sprinter Avon Samuels was in a race she got so scared that she had a false start, but after having another go at it she blew the competition away.The year was 2009, and with the encouragement of her mother and teachers, Samuels was entered in the Girls’ 100m and other races at her school’s (Tucville Primary) inter-house sports. The win surprised Samuels, as did all the other wins that eventually landed her a spot to represent the South Georgetown District at the National School Championships or Nationals as everyone calls it. “I couldn’t believe that I made it that far. That was my first Nationals so it was a big deal for me, I was so happy,” Samuels recollected. It wasn’t just the 100m that she was in, Samuels was also in the 200m and 400m, events, running all three at Nationals. She won only in the 400m, finished fourth in the 200m and performed the worst in the 100m. The devastation of her 100m loss left her in tears. But none of that mattered’ a passion had been aroused and at just 10 years old she had many years ahead of her. Fast-forward eight years later and Samuels hit a career-high by winning three South American Junior Championships medals, which she won on her return earlier this season in June, after being out with injury for some time. Samuels is also currently putting together preparations to take up a scholarship at Monroe College in the U.S. She no longer runs the 100m, and has personal best of 24.6 seconds in the 200m and 55.12 seconds in the 400m. Getting over her fear of running is something that Samuels took some time to adjust to., raring its head the first time Samuels represented Guyana at CARIFTA Games.After missing out on Nationals in 2010, in 2011 Samuels began a rivalry with Jevina Sampson, in her first year in the North Georgetown District 11, after she had graduated from primary school and began attending Christ Church Secondary. That year was also the year Samuels took her athletics to another stage, joining the Running Brave Athletics Club to develop her skills. However, that was not enough to stop Sampson from putting a halt to Samuels’ aspirations of attending Nationals in 2011. Sampson defeated her in the 200m and 400m at the inter-zone level of the competition. But by 2012, Samuels was shining again, and this time in a very big way. Everyone was taking notice when Samuels took commanding wins in the 100m, 200m and 400m races, competing in the Girls’ Under-14 category. Again she went all the way to Nationals. This time she took the hat-trick in the sprints. She encountered another rival that she would battle through the years – Linden’s Onasha Rogers. Like Samuels, Rogers was also recently offered a scholarship to Monroe College. In 2013, Samuels reached another level. She was among those selected to represent Guyana at the esteemed CARIFTA Games, being held that year in The Bahamas. It was also the year that Samuels set her first record at Nationals.At CARIFTA Games, nerves and fear again enveloped Samuels, as she took to the starting line for the Girls’ Under-18 200m and 400m. She went on to medal. But as the year winded down, Nationals was her time to shine. She won the Girls’ Under-18 400m in a record-breaking 1:00.2 seconds. She herself later erased this record in 2015. She still holds the 59.5 seconds record she set two years ago. Samuels also participated at CARIFTA Games in 2014, and 2016. She had qualified to be on the team in 2015, which unfortunately did not attend that Games after the entire team had to pay after one athlete forgot passport. ([email protected]).