Sat | Sep 23, 2023

Belvit building the hammer throw

Published:Monday | May 30, 2022 | 7:43 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Erica Belvit, Jamaica’s hammer throw champion.
Erica Belvit, Jamaica’s hammer throw champion.

For the fifth season in a row, national hammer throw champion Erica Belvit has raised her personal best. With that new standard of 67.66 metres, Belvit says she is just going to keep building to her goal of giving Jamaica a presence at the world level in her event.

The new mark came at NorthEastern University on April 22 on her second attempt.

“In that same competition, I fouled a 70 metres throw and everyone was making the ‘ahhhhh’ sound, but it felt like nothing. It just felt good. We had been working on speed, at least like the week or so before, really prioritising that, and to see it actually come out, see all my hard work kinda pay off in that one moment, it was great to see. So I’m looking forward to keep building,” she recalled of a series that also included distances of 65.71 and 65.44 metres.

Her former personal best was 66.92 metres.

A month later on May 21, she competed at the Tucson Elite Classic in Arizona and got 64.93 metres. The master’s degree candidate said: “I think some things have shifted for me, especially in the last few weeks, because of school ending, finals, and still being in classes, and other stuff. Usually around this time, it’s a little harder for me, and so we kinda have to make adjustments,” she said, speaking of her collaboration with coach Wilfred de Jesus.

She learnt a lot in Tucson.

“Just being able to be there and see people of high calibre, seeing how people throw, you know, the world-class throwers, seeing how they practise, seeing just the mindset, seeing how well they focus and how they really put out those throws, it was great to experience it,” she reflected last Friday.

Among those who made a big impression on Belvit in Tucson is fellow Jamaican Nayoka Clunis, who threw 66.12 metres there.

“We both have the potential to do it. We both have the drive to do it, so we are different throwers. We come at the hammer from different angles, but we’re still trying to put Jamaica more on the map,” she said.

Clunis and Belvit finished eighth and ninth, respectively, in Tucson, where the winner was Annette Echikunwoke of Nigeria, who tossed her hammer 73.67 metres.

Belvit and Clunis are both chasing the World Championships qualifying standard of 72.50 metres and Daina Levy’s Jamaica record of 71.48 metres.

“There have been people before me and Nayoka, so if anything, it’s just us being able to pick up the torch where they left off and see how far we can go and hopefully, you know, we inspire other women who want to come out and throw for Jamaica.”

They both have already surpassed the qualifying standard – 61.49 metres – for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.