Running for Mom, for Country
Saturday, February 27, 2010

For some athletes, having their parents in the stands watching them compete can lead to extra pressure and thus, less than desired results. In some instances, however, the given athlete can perform to heighten successes.


At the 2010 Atlantic Sun Indoor Track & Field Championships, ETSU's Duronal Monal, gave his mom, Jyolette, a memory to take back with her to Haiti.


Not since his high school days at Glade Central High School in Belle Glade, Fla., had Monal run in a track meet with his mom in the stands. She spends between 10 and 11 months out of the year in Haiti where she ran two convenience stores. We say ran because her stores were just part of the massive damage caused by the earthquake on January 12.


"It's been very tough for me to practice and continue to go to meets knowing she was in Haiti," Monal said. "God knows what was going onI couldn't communicate with her - the phone lines were down, so it was a very stressful time. I had support from ETSU, from the coaching staff, from my friends here, everyone was very supportive, helping me through everything. I had two false starts and that was me thinking about my mom and it was very stressful for me but I pulled myself together."


For 10 days, Monal tried without success to reach his mother. She suffered multiple injuries resulting from the quake. It would be another three days before she left Haiti for Florida.


"She was injured very badly, but someway, somehow through God's grace, she made it back here," Monal said. "She had some scratches and bruises and a wound behind her head which was bleeding very badly. They had to get her to the emergency room, but they couldn't get her there in time. She was probably suffering infection from the wound. As soon as she got to the US, they took her to the hospital and she was good to go."


At his final Indoor Championships, Monal entered in a pair of individual events, the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. In both events he established Championship records, and did so with NCAA provisional qualifying times.


"She's always busy in Haiti and never saw me," Monal said. "It's my senior year and I'm glad she was here to come see me run."


Through Duronal, Jyolette said "Even if it was 3,000 miles, I said I would make sure I came to support my baby. That trip from Haiti was terrible, but I would find it in my power to make it here."


At the podium to receive his medals, Monal displayed a miniature Haitian flag, given to him by his mom after the quake hit. He has carried the flag with him throughout the weekend and for the first time, as suggested by his mom, he raced with the flag tucked inside his tights.


"I'm coming out here and I'm running for my country, I'm running for them. This is my country and I love this country. I'm going to support them 100 percent and I'm going to keep holding this flag until the meet is complete," Monal said.