MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Akela Jones won three events at the Big 12 Indoor Meet, breaking some records along the way, but if you think that she’s satisfied with just that, you are mistaken. No, she’s eyeing something much bigger.
“A lot of things have changed over the last four years in my life,” said Akela Jones, senior at Kansas State University.”
In 2012 – Jones was just making a name for herself as a 16-year old.
Fast forward four years, and Jones has burst into the track and field scene and has her eyes set on the ultimate prize, the Summer Olympics.
“It’s pretty exciting, I actually qualified last year,” Jones said. “I just have to qualify again in my country in the period where we have to qualify in.”
The native from Barbados is already in the record books to go along with being a national champion as a heptathlete, a combination of seven track and field events.
Now she’s prepared to represent her school in one of the biggest stages in the world.
“Representing K-State, it proves that K-State is a place that you want to come and train,” Jones said. “It’s a place where you have good facilities, good people and it’s just a collective of people that make your dreams come true. To represent K-State, you have the full package behind you. You know that a lot of people in this one little town is backing you.”
Jones’s track coach Cliff Rovelto is the one prepping her for the big event in August, and for good reason, as Rovelto has had some experience with some Olympic athletes, including one that boasted a silver medal in 2012.
“I’m fortunate,” said Coach Rovelto, who’s been the track coach at K-State for more than 20 years. “Throughout my career, there have been times where I was working with someone and said this might the best guy or gal that I’ll have the opportunity to work with. Then we end up with others coming along after them that were just as good or even better, so I’ve been very fortunate.”
Jones saw what Erik Kynard did in the 2012 Summer Games in London four years ago, she’s also noticed what he does now, that in which inspired Jones to follow in his footsteps.
“Just in himself he shows you why he’s an Olympic silver medalist,” Jones said about Kynard. “You see it in his training, you see that he trains hard. Without saying a word, Erik is a prime example of why I want to be an Olympian too.”
So what’s her expectations for August?
“I just want to go out there and represent my country, represent k-state to the best of my ability and represent my team,” Jones said. “I know my team is going to be backing me 100 percent, and I couldn’t have done it without a collective of everybody at K-State”
Technically, the Olympic trials are still a few months away, but with the record numbers that Akela is putting up, there’s no doubt that we should be seeing her in Brazil in August.