Smikle: No clear discus favourite at National Champs
Commonwealth and Pan-American Games discus runner-up Traves Smikle has the longest throw by a Jamaican this year, but he said there’s no clear favourite at this week’s National Championships. That’s because, for the first time in the nation’s...
Commonwealth and Pan-American Games discus runner-up Traves Smikle has the longest throw by a Jamaican this year, but he said there’s no clear favourite at this week’s National Championships. That’s because, for the first time in the nation’s storied track and field history, there are four men with throws beyond 65 metres in the same season. Despite the quality of the field, Smikle aims to win.
The discus will take centrestage inside the National Stadium today at 6.15 p.m., with Smikle; 2019 World Championships silver medal winner, Fedrick Dacres; 2022 NCAA third-place finisher, Ralford Mullings; and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) finalist, Roje Stona, all sporting seasonal bests over 65m. In addition, 2021 Olympic finalist Chad Wright will be present to bid for a place on the team to the World Championships next month in Eugene, Oregon.
Smikle’s season leading throw – 66.60 metres – is beyond the World qualifying mark and it has taken some weight off his broad shoulders. “First and foremost, I’m very happy that I’ve got the A qualifier. That’s the first thing. So going into the championships, my hope is to win and secure my spot,” he outlined on June 22. In addition, he has been working with coach Julian Robinson to produce solid throws in every meet, but especially when it is critical. “You need to be in the top-three to make the team,” he elaborated, “but my aim is to go out there and win. So that’s really what it is. Performance wise, you know, whether it’s a regular track meet or an important meet, I always want to throw well so I am looking to throw well.”
Injured last year, the two-time Olympian is targeting his second World Championship final. In 2017, he combined with his longtime training partner Dacres, who was fourth, to give Jamaica two contestants in a global throwing final for the first time.
In 2019, he missed the final.
NOTHING FOR GRANTED
With Dacres at 65.98m, Mullings at 65.39m and Stona at 65.11m this year and Wright owning a personal best of 66.54 metres, Smikle is not taking anything for granted.
“It’s pretty incredible, if you ask me, and it goes to show that the throws in Jamaica are growing and also, in this Trials, there isn’t a clear favourite in my opinion. There are some who will come and give a good account of themselves. For me, I just need to ensure that I will do what I need to do to secure my spot,” he said.
Despite the obvious quality of the field, the 2017 World Championships eighth-place finisher carries a quiet air of confidence into today’s contest. He views the Nationals as a dry run for Eugene.
“Yes, because this would be like a mock exam, a rehearsal for the actual day so I think anybody who has any ambitions of going to the World Championships, they should put themselves in the frame of mind to compete hard and compete well, so that’s really my aim.”
World and Olympic champion Daniel Stahl of Sweden produced the longest throw in the world – 71.47 metres on June 21.