Jamaican discus thrower Traves Smikle is riding high on confidence after a convincing win at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational and is now setting his sights on the upcoming Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco, where he will face a formidable field of world-class competitors.

Smikle, who departs the island on Wednesday for the prestigious Diamond League event on Sunday, expressed both excitement and determination about his first appearance in the series. "Encountering a discus field like the one in Rabat for my first Diamond League meet is pretty exciting and crazy at the same time," said Smikle, who has had five wins on the trot this season. "Not many of the big names are missing and I just need to go out there and compete. It’s a game of distance and these guys are good quality throwers, so I just need to hold my own and compete."

His recent performance at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational demonstrated Smikle's capabilities, as he threw an impressive 66.89m to secure victory over his compatriot Fedrick Dacres. Reflecting on this achievement, Smikle emphasized the importance of consistency and translating his current form to European competitions.

"Before coming into this competition, I felt a little tired during the training sessions in the days before," Smikle noted following his win on Saturday. "Coming out today and having another 66m throw is pretty respectable. I am working on my consistency; what I need to do now is when I go to Europe, I translate this sort of performance and better to be competitive among the field."

Looking ahead to his aspirations for the Olympics in Paris this summer, Smikle is focused on pushing his limits and achieving greater distances. "I want to get 68, 69, 70m in a stadium," he explained. "That is what I am working on."

When asked about the steps needed to reach these targets, Smikle highlighted the importance of dedication, patience, and consistency in training. "It’s going to take more work, patience, and greater consistency," emphasized Smikle, who, so far this season, has won with throws of 67.57m, 67.83m, 65.96m, 66.03m and 66.89m. "If you can build up your level of consistency, then at some point your upper limit must get higher."

 

 

 Jamaica's two-time world 200m champion, Shericka Jackson, made a triumphant return to competition at the JAAA All Comers Meet held at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday night. Jackson, who had withdrawn from several meets earlier in the season, put any doubts to rest with an impressive victory in the women's 100m event.

In her highly anticipated season opener, Jackson blazed to victory in the 100m, crossing the line in a swift time of 11.03 seconds. Her performance not only secured her the win but also sent a strong message about her form and readiness as she heads into an Olympic year.

The race saw Tina Clayton take second place with a time of 11.20 seconds, closely followed by Krystal Sloley in third with a time of 11.25 seconds.

On the men's side, Julian Forte delivered an outstanding performance in the 100m dash, clocking an impressive time of 10.07 seconds to secure the title of the fastest Jamaican this year. Earl Simmons followed closely with a time of 10.15 seconds, while Jazeel Murphy claimed third place overall with a time of 10.20 seconds.

Murphy continued his strong showing later in the evening by dominating the 200m event, crossing the line in 20.67 seconds to claim victory. Ashanie Smith and Michael Sharp secured second and third places, respectively, with times of 20.93 seconds and 21.09 seconds.

In other notable performances, former national record holder Janeek Brown showcased her talent in the 100m hurdles, posting a time of 13.15 seconds. This promising performance suggests that Brown is on track to regain her top form after her impressive NCAA title win in 2019.

Orlando Bennett emerged victorious in the men's sprint hurdles with a commendable time of 13.67 seconds, narrowly edging out Odario Phillips (13.71) and Andre Harris (13.78) in a closely contested finish.

Traves Smikle demonstrated his dominance in the men's discus event, throwing an impressive 66.03m to claim first place. Chad Wright secured second place with a throw of 62.98m, followed by Tio-Josh Mowatt in third place with a distance of 52.76m.

In a stunning display of speed and athleticism, Oblique Seville left spectators in awe at Velocity Fest 14 held at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday. Celebrating his 23rd birthday, Seville delivered an extraordinary performance, clocking a world-leading time of 20.17 in the 200m, hinting at his potential podium finish at the Paris Olympic Games this summer.

Seville's remarkable feat marks a significant improvement in his speed and strength, demonstrated by his previous 400m clocking of 47.44 at the Camperdown Classics on February 10. Surpassing his own lifetime best of 20.86 set in 2019, Seville's record-breaking run solidifies his status as a top contender on the global stage.

Not to be outdone, Roshawn Clarke and Shamar Horatio also delivered exceptional performances, with Clarke achieving a lifetime best of 20.69 to secure second place, and Horatio setting a new personal best of 20.83 for third place in Seville's final.

Acknowledging the talent on display, Ackeem Blake showcased his prowess by clinching victory in his 200m final with a lifetime best of 20.45. Wendell Miller followed closely behind with a personal best of 20.61, while Paul Henry secured third place with a season's best time of 20.96.

Among the standout performers was Great Britain's Zharnel Hughes, who triumphed in his final with a swift time of 20.40. Rusheen McDonald and Demish Gaye followed suit with impressive times of 20.59 and 20.65, respectively.

In the women's races, Sada Williams continued her stellar form by winning her final in an impressive time of 22.70, following her national Barbados record of 22.59 set at the GC Foster Classic last week. Roneisha McGregor secured second place with a season-best time of 23.55, while Tina Clayton finished third in 23.73.

Tia Clayton, twin sister of Tina, showcased her speed in the 100m final, clocking a new lifetime best of 11.12. Remona Burchell followed closely behind with a time of 11.36, while Krystal Sloley recorded a season-best of 11.42 for third place.

Jura Levy continued her upward trajectory with a new season's best time of 11.43, further solidifying her position among Jamaica's top sprinters.

In other events, Malik James-King impressed in the 400m, securing victory with a season's best time of 45.59.

Traves Smikle continued his dominance in the discus with a winning throw of 65.96m, followed by Fedrick Dacres with a season-best performance of 64.80m, and Chad Wright with a throw of 62.42m for third place.

 

Traves Smikle's impressive start to the season, marked by two throws over 67 metres, has left the Jamaican discus thrower optimistic and determined for the challenges ahead. The culmination of his offseason efforts was evident in his stellar performance at the GC Foster Classic on Saturday, March 9, where he achieved a season-best mark of 67.83m. His winning mark, which follows on his 67.57m effort in February, was well clear ahead of his former Calabar High School teammates Chad Wright, who threw a season's best 64.77m and Fedrick Dacres, who was third with a throw of 64.37m.

Reflecting on his current form, Smikle acknowledged the significance of consistent training and conditioning during the offseason. "I wouldn't say this is the most consistent I have been because I have had seasons where I have thrown over 67m twice," he remarked. "My mission for this season, however, is to go to every meet and be as competitive as I was for the last two meets."

His focus on maintaining competitiveness throughout the season stems from the groundwork laid during the offseason. Smikle emphasized the importance of embracing changes to improve technique and conditioning during the preparatory period. "One of the keys to being competitive and being over a certain mark during the season is embracing the changes you have to make to improve your technique," he explained. "The offseason is very important. Most times what you do in the offseason can set the tone for what you’re going to do in the season."

Smikle's commitment to offseason work with his coach Julian Robinson, has positioned him well for success this year. He expressed confidence in his ability to consistently surpass the 67m mark, attributing it to the meticulous planning and preparation undertaken during the offseason. "I am more confident this year that I can be a regular 67m and over thrower," Smikle declared.

As the season progresses, Smikle remains focused on refining his technique and conditioning. Aware that the season is still young, he emphasized the need to approach each competition strategically. "Right now I am still working on my technique and certain aspects of my conditioning," he said. "The season is very young, and I just have to take everything in stride and ensure that I plan properly so that when the target meets come around, I will be able to do what I did on the weekend."

 

Reigning national champion Traves Smikle and 2019 World Championships silver medalist Fedrick Dacres both made it through to the final of the men’s discus throw on day one of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Saturday.

Smikle had the fourth furthest throw in qualifying with 65.71m while Dacres threw 65.45m to qualify with the seventh farthest throw. Roje Stona, who finished second at the Jamaican Trials, had a best throw of 62.67m to finish 20th overall.

Swedish World and Olympic Champion, Daniel Stahl, led all qualifiers with 66.25mwhile Mykolas Alekna (66.04m) and Kristjan Ceh (65.95m).

NCAA Championships runner-up, Roje Stona, is looking forward to participating in his first IAAF World Championships set for August 19-27 in Budapest.

The Jamaican Arkansas standout is currently sixth on the world rankings this year with a best throw of 68.64m done to win at the SEC Outdoor Championships in Baton Rouge in May.

He enters Budapest as one of Jamaica’s biggest medal contenders in the field events.

“I’m looking forward to it. I think it will be a good competition. I’ve trained for the last couple weeks after the National Trials. I’m used to the extended season so it’s just for me to go out there and compete for a medal,” Stona said.

Those National Trials saw Stona throw 65.92m to finish second behind Traves Smikle’s 66.12m. 2019 World Championships silver medalist Fedrick Dacres threw 65.79m to complete Jamaica’s team for Budapest.

“It was a good experience. I was happy with the result in terms of finishing top three and getting a solid mark over 65m,” Stona said.

These performances mark a steady improvement for Jamaica in the event. Stona (6th), Dacres (7th) and Smikle (9th) are all in the top 10 in the world this year in the event. Stona’s best performance this season was his aforementioned 68.64m effort at the SEC Championships. Dacres threw 68.57m to win at the Tucson Elite Classic in Arizona in May while Smikle threw a personal best 68.14m at the King of the Ring event at the Excelsior High School on February 11.

“I’m glad to see that there’s a lot of improvement in the event in the country. I’m looking forward to competing with the guys,” Stona said.

At major championships, throwers will get up to three throws in the preliminaries but Stona is hoping he only needs one to achieve the automatic qualifying distance to the final which is 66.00m.

“If you make it to these competitions you are guaranteed three throws so, obviously, I’m going to try to make sure that I qualify from round one to not put myself under any pressure,” he said.

Action can be seen live on the SportsMax app.

Newly minted men’s 100m champion Rohan Watson and defending world champions Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and Shericka Jackson headline a powerful Jamaican team named Wednesday to represent the country at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Watson, the surprise winner of the men’s 100m will campaign alongside Ryiem Forde and 2022 World Championship finalist Oblique Seville. Ackeem Blake who just missed out on the top three spots in the 100m has been listed as an alternate but he will be a member of the 4x100m squad that will also include Tyquendo Tracey and Michael Campbell.

Fraser-Pryce will be going for her sixth world title with Shericka Jackson, the reigning national champion in both 100m and 200m, campaigning alongside her. Also down to contest the 100m is Sashalee Forbes and Natasha Morrison.

Briana Williams and Elaine Thompson-Herah have been selected as members of the 4x100m relay team.

Andrew Hudson and Rasheed Dwyer will contest the men’s 200m while Jackson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Natalliah Whyte and Kevona Davis will take on the 200m. Sashalee Forbes has been named as an alternate for the 200m, presumably on the likelihood that Fraser-Pryce will not go in the half-lap sprint.

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) put to rest the likelihood of Rusheen McDonald, who is the fastest Jamaican in the world this year over 400m, contesting the one-lap sprint. McDonald, who has run 44.03 this year, the third fastest time ever run over 400m by a Jamaican man, failed to show up for the semi-finals of the national championships.

Zandrian Barnes has been given the nod, who failed to finish in the top three at the national championships in early July, but has met the qualifying entry standard of 45.00. He will contest the 400m along with national champion Sean Bailey and runner-up Antonio Watson.

Jevaughn Powell, Malik James-King and Demish Gaye will make up the 4x400m relay squad.

Nickisha Price, Candice McLeod and Charokee Young will compete in the 400m for women with Joanne Reid named as an alternate. Janieve Russell, Rhonda Whyte and Shian Salmon will make up the 4x400m relay squad.

Reid, meanwhile, will contest the 4x400m Mixed Relay along with Stacy-Ann Williams, Rusheen McDonald and D’Andre Anderson.

Navasky Anderson, who dramatically met the entry standard of 1:44.70 on the final day for qualification on Sunday, is only male 800m runner named on the team while Natoya Goule and Adelle Tracey will take on the women’s event. Tracey will also compete in the 1500m.

An area of great strength for Jamaica is the sprint hurdles. World leader Rasheed Broadbell, the 2022 Commonwealth Games champion, will lead Jamaica’s hunt for medals along with Olympic champion Hansle Parchment and the fast-rising Orlando Bennett. Tyler Mason has been named as an alternate.

 Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper will lead the charge for the Jamaican women in the 100m hurdles alongside NCAA champion Ackera Nugent, who is making her debut on the senior team, and 2015 World Champion Danielle Williams, who is also the 2019 bronze medallist.

Amoi Brown is selected as the alternate.

Newly crowned senior national champion and World U20 record holder Roshawn Clarke will take on the world’s best in the 400m hurdles along with Jaheel Hyde and Assinie Wilson while Russell, Andrenette Knight and Rushell Clayton, the 2019 bronze medallist, will go in the women’s race.

Salmon is the alternate.

Romaine Beckford is to represent the black, gold and green in the high jump for men with Lamara Distin and Kimberly Williamson set to take on the women’s event.

The impressive teenager Jaydon Hibbert, the world leader in the triple jump, will try to add world title to his World U20, Carifta, NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles. Two-time World championship silver medalist Shanieka Ricketts will go for a third medal in the women’s event and will be accompanied by NCAA silver medallist Ackelia Smith and Kimberly Williams.

Jamaica’s strength in the field events is further bolstered by the selection of Carey McLeod, Wayne Pinnock and the 2019 World Champion Tajay Gayle for the long jump while Tissana Hickling and Smith will contest the event among the women.

Newly crowned national record holder Rajindra Campbell and Danniel Thomas-Dodd will throw the shot put in their respective events.

Fedrick Dacres, the 2019 silver medalist, national champion Traves Smith and NCAA silver medallist will throw the discus in Budapest with Samantha Hall set to take on the women’s event. Last but certainly not least is the impressive Nyoka Clunis who will throw the hammer at the prestigious event where the world’s best athletes will congregate on August 19, 2023.

 

Zharnel Hughes sent shockwaves through the track and field world on Saturday when he sped to a personal best, world lead and British record 9.83 to take the win in the Men’s 100m at the USATF NYC Grand Prix at the Icahn Stadium.

The Anguilla-born Hughes, who currently trains under legendary coach Glen Mills at the Racers Track Club in Jamaica, recovered after being left at the start by Jamaica’s Akeem Blake and the USA’s Christian Coleman to obliterate his previous personal best of 9.91 done five years ago in Jamaica. Blake ran 9.93 for second while Coleman was third in 10.02.

Hughes, a former Class 1 100m record holder at the ISSA Boys & Girls Championships where he competed for Kingston College in 2014, broke the previous British record of 9.87, set by Jamaican-born Olympic and World Champion, Linford Christie, back in 1993.

In the Women’s equivalent, Aleia Hobbs was the only athlete to break 11 seconds, running 10.98 for victory.

Jamaica’s Briana Williams got her customary bullet start and was able to maintain her form and composure to run a season’s best equaling 11.04 in second while defending US champion, Melissa Jefferson, ran a season’s best 11.06 for third.

Jamaica’s Zandrion Barnes ran 45.05 to take the win in the Men’s 400m ahead of Matthew Boling (45.58) and Trevor Stewart (45.85).

The women’s equivalent was won by American 400m hurdles world record holder, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, in a personal best 49.51 ahead of teammate Gabby Thomas (50.29) and Jamaica’s Charokee Young (51.02).

2015 World Champion Danielle Williams was third in the 100m hurdles. In a race aided by a 2.8 m/s wind, American former world record holder, Kendra Harrison, ran 12.29 for victory finishing narrowly ahead of Alaysha Johnson (12.30) and Williams (12.33). Olympic bronze medallist, Megan Tapper, was fifth in 12.68.

18-year-old Surinamese phenom, Issam Assinga, ran 20.25 for second in the Men’s 200m behind World Champion, Noah Lyles, who ran 19.83 for the win. The USA’s Elijah Morrow ran 20.30 for third. With that time, Lyles has now tied double sprint world record holder, Usain Bolt, for the most sub-20 times in the 200m with 34.

In the field, Dominican Commonwealth Games silver medalist, Thea Lafond, produced 14.47m to win the Women’s triple jump ahead of the USA’s Kenturah Orji (14.30m) and Canada’s Caroline Erhardt (13.80m).

Traves Smikle threw 65.36m to take the discus crown ahead of Samoa’s Alex Rose (64.63m) and Jamaica’s Kai Chang (63.17m).

2019 World Championship silver medalist, Danniel Thomas-Dodd, threw 19.38m for second in the Women’s shot put behind American world leader Maggie Ewen (19.68m). Chase Ealey threw 19.25m for third.

Jamaica’s Kimberly Williamson cleared 1.83m for second in the Women’s high jump behind the USA’s Vashti Cunningham (1.95m). Jelena Rowe cleared 1.79m for third.

 

Jamaicans Traves Smikle and Fedrick Dacres finished first and second in the men’s discus throw on day one of the 2023 USATF LA Grand Prix at the UCLA Drake Stadium in California on Friday.

Smikle produced a consistent series with his two best throws coming in the first and sixth rounds.

The first round saw him produce a 65.26m, which would have been good enough to win, before five rounds later he threw the discus 67.07m.

Dacres, the 2019 World Championship silver medallist, was in third after four rounds with a best throw of 63.30m. After a foul in the fifth round, he produced a 64.51m effort in the final round to secure second place.

Samoa’s Alex Rose was third with a best throw of 64.03m.

Fedrick Dacres threw a season’s best 68.57m to win the men’s discus at the 2023 Tucson Elite Classic on Thursday.

The 2019 World Championship silver medalist had three throws over 67m (67.84m, 68.27, 68.57) that exceeded the 2023 World Championships qualifying standard of 67.20m and makes him the third Jamaican behind Roje Stona and Traves Smikle to achieve the standard this season.

Samoa's Alex Rose, who has thrown over 70m this season, finished in second place with 66.91m with Sam Mattis throwing 64.64m to snag third place.

It was a welcome performance from Dacres, who delivered his best performance with the disc since he threw 69.67m at Excelsior High School in Kingston in February 2020.

The 29-year-old Dacres, the 2018 Commonwealth Games, NACAC and Diamond League champion, who boasts a personal best of 70.78m, a national record, has been hampered by injury and have undergone surgeries on his knees and wrist in the past few years.

Thursday’s performance makes him the sixth-best thrower in the world this year supplanting his training partner and friend, Smike, whose achieved his personal best of 68.14m in Kingston in February and just behind Stona, whose personal best effort of 68.64m came on May 13 in Baton Rouge.

The mark was also more than two metres better than his previous season-best of 66.32m in February.

 

Four-time Jamaican national champion Traves Smikle attributes off-season changes to his training and becoming a father for the first time as the main factors behind his world-leading throw at the King of the Ring meeting at Excelsior High School in Kingston on Saturday, February 11.

On his fifth throw of the competition, the 30-year-old Smikle blew past his previous best of 67.72m to record a new best mark of 68.14 to claim victory over his former Calabar High teammates Fedrick Dacres (66.32m) and Chad Wright (59.94).

Obviously chuffed at establishing a new mark in the ultra-competitive world of discus, Smike expressed gratitude.

“I feel happy about it. For a good while I have been trying to hit a throw over 68; it’s unreal (laughs) but I am grateful,” said the 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, who for the past few years, has battled to overcome injury and other life challenges.

With those issues hopeful behind him, he and Coach Julian Robinson plotted a new path for the coming season, especially with the new qualifying standards set by World Athletics as well as him becoming a father for the first time.

“Preparation, with each year as you get older, as you get more experienced, will vary and my coach and I, we spoke extensively on a few things that we would change to see if we could get better throws this year,” Smikle revealed.

“The qualifying mark is 67m, so immediately the mindset had to change as well because the standard has risen; physical changes, changes in the gym; overall a different approach for this season, I think that is what gave me and I have a little one now so there is motivation all round,” he said. “And it was a good series too; 64, then 66 on the second, foul, 66, third, foul and 68 on the fifth and then a foul again on the sixth.”

Saturday’s result has caused him to have a positive outlook for the season ahead.

“Overall, things are looking good,” said the NACAC champion, who finished a runner-up to Dacres in his opening meet in Manchester in January with a throw of 63.98m, “just to see where I was with the changes.”

The next step, he said, is finding those big marks more consistently.

“I am looking to be more consistent over the big marks because in the world of discus, if you’re not throwing 68/69m it makes no sense, so I am looking to be consistent throwing those marks and throwing them when it counts,” he said.

 

Kyron McMaster and Shian Salmon took the respective 400m hurdles titles on the final day of the NACAC Championships in The Bahamas on Sunday.

The Caribbean took gold and silver in the Men’s 110m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Thursday.

Jamaica’s Rasheed Broadbell ran a personal best 13.08 to equal the Commonwealth games record, set by Colin Jackson in 1990, and win gold ahead of Barbados’ Shane Brathwaite (13.30) and England’s Andrew Pozzi (13.37). Olympic champion Hansle Parchment was scheduled to run out of lane three but didn’t turn up for the final.

In the 400m hurdles, Janieve Russell, Shiann Salmon and Rushell Clayton all advanced to the final.

Salmon and Russell ran times of 55.30 and 55.79, respectively, for first and second in semi-final one while Clayton took the second semi-final in 54.93.

Bahamian long jumper Laquan Nairn struck gold in the Men’s long jump with a distance of 8.08m, the same distance as Indian silver medallist Sreeshankar Sreeshankar while South Africa’s Jovan Van Vuuren finished third with 8.06m. Jamaica’s Shawn-D Thompson narrowly missed out on bronze after achieving 8.05m for fourth.

Jamaica's Traves Smikle threw 64.58m for bronze in the Men's discus throw behind Australia's Matthew Denny (67.26m) and England's Lawrence Okoye (64.99m).

Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah led all qualifiers to the semi-finals of the 100m as Athletics action got underway at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Tuesday.

The World Championship 100m bronze medallist from Eugene ran an easy 10.99 to win heat two and advance.

Antigua & Barbuda’s Joella Lloyd was next up, finishing third in heat three in 11.42 to advance. In heat four, Guyana’s Jasmine Abrams almost perfectly matched Lloyd, running 11.42 for third to advance.

Trinidad & Tobago’s Michelle Lee-Ahye and the Bahamas’ Tynia Gaither ran 11.14 and 11.19, respectively, to finish first and second in heat five and progress.

Jamaica’s Natalliah Whyte ran 11.31 to win heat six and advance while St. Lucia’s Julien Alfred (11.24) and Jamaica’s Remona Burchell (11.46) were the top two finishers in the seventh and final heat.

On the Men’s side, Nadale Buntin of St. Kitts & Nevis will be in the semis after finishing third in the first heat with a season’s best 10.37.

Rikkoi Brathwaite of the British Virgin Islands finished second in heat three in 10.42 to advance.

Next up was Jamaican 2014 Commonwealth Games 100m champion Kemar Bailey-Cole who ran 10.15 to finish second in heat four to progress.

Heat six saw Trinidad & Tobago’s Kion Benjamin produce 10.34 for second to move on while Jamaica’s Conroy Jones (10.28) and Trinidad & Tobago’s Eric Harrison Jr (10.37) both advanced from the eighth heat.

The tenth and final heat saw three Caribbean men advance. Trinidad & Tobago's Jerod Elcock won the heat in 10.26 while Guyana's Emmanuel Archibald (10.28) and St. Lucia's Stephan Charles (10.29) finished second and third, respectively.

Jamaican World Championship finalist Natoya Goule is now a Commonwealth Games finalist as well after running 1:58.39 to advance to the final as the fastest qualifier.

In the field, Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas-Dodd and Lloydricia Cameron both advanced to the final of the Women’s shot put after throws of 18.42m and 16.61m, respectively. Thomas-Dodd’s distance was the farthest in qualifying.

The Caribbean will be well represented in the final of the Men’s long jump as The Bahamas’ Laquan Nairn (7.90m), Jamaica’s Shawn-D Thompson (7.85m), Guyana’s Emmanuel Archibald (7.83m), Dominica’s Tristan James (7.65m) and Trinidad & Tobago’s Anduelle Wright (7.58m) will all be present.

Jamaica’s Traves Smikle (64.90m) and Roje Stona (58.35m) will both be in the final of the Men’s discus throw alongside Grenada’s Josh Boateng (56.51m).

Now that he has finally been able to train consistently after two years of disruption caused by the global pandemic, Traves Smikle produced his best throw in three years to achieve the qualifying mark for this summer’s World Athletics Championships at the second JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series meet at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

Smikle, the 2018 NACAC silver medallist, threw a season-best 66.60m for the victory, his best throw since he threw 67.57m in January 2019. It was the perfect birthday present for Smikle, who revealed afterwards that it was a welcome reprieve from a tough past couple of years.

“The last two years have been crazy with the pandemic and everything. It was very difficult to get into a training flow and now that things are better, not perfect but better, my coach and I got some consistent work in,” said Smikle, who won JMD$90,000 for the win.

“For the season I have been averaging 64/65m. We have been knocking at the door and we finally got it (the qualifying mark) today on my birthday and I am happy about that.”

Noticeably bigger than he has been in previous years, Smikle revealed that his increase in size is also part of his coach Julian Robinson’s plan for him to throw farther this year.

“One of the things my coach wanted me to do is put on a little more weight and we are doing some explosive work, trying to keep consistent with training and today we saw the fruits of our labour,” he said.

Smikle’s throw makes him Jamaica’s best thrower this year ahead of his training partner and friend, Fedrick Dacres, the 2018 Commonwealth Games champion and 2019 World Championships silver medallist and, at least for now, gives him bragging rights in the Reckless Control training group.

Dacres, he said, is sure to use it as motivation to throw beyond the 65.98m he threw at the same venue just over a week ago, the next time he competes.

“Fedrick is a phenomenal athlete and we have been training hard, he has been working hard and we are on track. It is only a matter of time before he hits a big throw,” Smikle said of Dacres.

“Both of us have been averaging over 65m and we just want to work hard and respect each other. I am pretty sure he has seen this mark and it is going fire him up to get something big so the next time we compete, it’s going to be a good one.”

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