DISCUS MILESTONE – Four men over 65m
When Roje Stona sailed his discus 65.11 metres at the recent Penn Relays, the Clemson University senior had played his part in the achievement of a national milestone. Thanks to Stona, Jamaica has for the first time, four men who have thrown the...
When Roje Stona sailed his discus 65.11 metres at the recent Penn Relays, the Clemson University senior had played his part in the achievement of a national milestone. Thanks to Stona, Jamaica has for the first time, four men who have thrown the disc past the 65 metres line in one season. Commonwealth and Pan American Games discus runner-up Traves Smikle says the accomplishment shows that Jamaica is doing great things.
Speaking a day after he threw 66.60 metres at the National Stadium on Saturday, Smikle said: “It’s amazing that we have four discus throwers from Jamaica over 65 metres, and I think we’re in the top 15. And you know, to be honest, my reaction to that is, we are doing great things on our little island, and it shows the talent and the class we have, not only in sprinting but in throws.”
Smikle leads the pack with his training partner Fedrick Dacres, 2021 World Under-20 Championships runner-up Ralford Mullings, and 2021 NCAA silver medal winner Stona all appearing inside the top 15 on the 2022 World Athletics performance list. Dacres, the 2019 World Championships second-place finisher, and Mullings, a first-year student athlete at Arizona State University, have 2022 marks of 65.98 and 65.39 metres, respectively.
With those accomplishments in mind, Smikle added: “We have shown the ability, the capability to compete on the world stage in what we considered years ago a non-traditional event. So, for us to have four guys over 65m, boy, it’s looking more traditional by the year. So I’m very impressed.”
The group might soon grow. Last year’s Olympic finalist Chad Wright has a personal best of 66.54 metres, and Smikle knows his fellow Calabar High School graduate is building his season. “Chad can very well hit over 65m, 66m on any given day because he has done it before, and he has shown himself to have a level of pedigree of competition, mental strength. So I would not be surprised if he hits a season’s best over 65m, 66m. For me, it’s just a matter of time,” the left-handed Smikle said.
He entered last Saturday’s JAAA/SDF Jubilee meet with a season’s best of 65.60 metres, 40 centimetres short of the qualifying standard for the World Championship in July.
“It looked like a 65 metres throw, but I’m hoping for the 66m; and when I saw the 66m come up the board, my coach and I celebrated, because that has been my best throw since 2019,” Smikle recalled.
The quality of the four Jamaicans over 65 metres this year, Wright and 2018 World Under-20 champion Kai Chang make the upcoming National Championships a showdown where any disc can play. Smikle is looking forward to it. “One of the things that I’ve been working on for this season is to be consistent at a higher level at every meet I go; and for this season, I’ve been averaging between 64m and 65m, and I got my 66m yesterday (Saturday),” said the Julian Robinson-coached thrower.
In all, he has been at 64 metres or better in each of his six competitions this season, with three over 65m.
“I want to put myself in a position that if any disc plays from my competitors, I’m able to respond and compete well,” he resolved.