It's time for a new edition of 3 Cheers. It's my regular series of unique athletes, coaches, and teams.
Diandrenique Gaines is a prodigy in track and field. The 14 year old from The Sip is making an international impact while battling an ailment.
To run a race you need the equipment for the job: spikes, uniform, speed. In the case of 14 year old Diandrenique Gaines, you can also add inhaler. She won international gold last year while battling asthma.
"First and foremost, I don't let my illness control my running. I just get out there and run and do my best."
The Mississippi native torched the field in Taipei, winning the 100 meters in the 2016 International Children's Games. This success happened thanks to learning from Olympians Tori Bowie, Tommie Smith, and Dianne Williams. Tommie gave her a chance to run on his AAU track team.
Phillip Travis coaches "Nique" during the summer and calls her a coaches dream. "She will basically do anything that you ask. And she's the type of athlete that excels. She has a glow about herself and you listen to her talk and watch her run, And I believe in my heart and she believes in her heart that she will make it to the Olympics."
Her asthma almost stopped her from competing in the 2017 International Children's Games. Breathing complications during the opening ceremony landed her in the hospital. Gaines was released hours before the preliminary round. She proceeded to light up the competition in Lithuania. 12.08 seconds in prelims, 11.88 in the semis, and 11.92 to win back to back gold medals in the 100m.
Gaines is also a 5A state champion, winning the 200 meter title with Hattiesburg High. The dream?
"I want to go to the 2020 Olympics. It means a lot because I know some people my age that look up to me, and that means a lot to me."
Diandrenique Gaines will compete in the Junior Olympics later this month in Kansas.
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