BEIJING, China: A year ago, he couldn’t walk. Yesterday, Fedrick Dacres ended the qualification round in the men’s discus at the IAAF World Championships at the Bird Nest in Beijing, China, as the number-one qualifier heading into the final. It’s a remarkable turnaround and one that takes sharper focus when the most optimistic of outlooks did not consider that the promising thrower would be able to compete here in Beijing, with Dacres and his team targeting a return to form next season ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Dacres suffered damage to the meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee and was forced to spend the better part of six months on the sidelines after surgery, with little hope of getting in shape in time for the World Championships. It was a tough period for the sociology student at the University of West Indies, who admitted to considering packing it all up and focusing on his studies when he was struggling with injuries. “When I did the surgery, I could not even walk. I thought I was a bright kid so I could find my way back to the book so I decided to be a scholar. I started healing and then I just stayed working towards recovering. If I couldn’t work my legs, I focused on the upper body and told myself that if my knees never come back 100 per cent, I can strengthen my upper body and become a thrower who relies on arm strength,” said Dacres. “This wasn’t in our plan. This was a supposed to be a year to prep for Rio. So to be here in good condition and maybe vying for a medal is a good feeling,” he added. “I’m not really a good starter, I can’t start well. So for me to come out here and get a big start like that, which got me into the final is a great feeling and I want to build on that now,” Dacres told The Gleaner. his impressive start Buoyed by his impressive start to his World Championships experience, Dacres, a champion at the World Youth and World Junior levels, said he is focusing on executing the instructions of his coach Julian Robinson. “I believe that this year it’s about who wants it more because no one is way ahead or dominating in this event, so I’m just here and I’m trying to make the best of it,” he added. “Mr Robinson is a guru, he does things differently, but it’s also all about trusting the big man. I’m a soldier, so I follow orders it has got me to a 65m opener and if I open with that, I feel I can do so much more.” The men’s discus final will take place tomorrow at 6:50 a.m. – A.L.