Sat | Sep 23, 2023

Smikle: The discus is crazy now

Published:Tuesday | August 23, 2022 | 12:08 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

Traves Smikle is grateful for the consistency that has governed his 2022 discus season. However, he knows he must improve if he is to fulfil his ambition to win a medal at next year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary or the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. His pragmatic view has been formed by the exceptionally high level of throwing in the event this year.

Just hours after the 30 year-old led training partner Fedrick Dacres in a Jamaican one-two at the just-concluded NACAC Championships in the Bahamas, Smikle observed, “as you know, the discus world is in a crazy place. If you’re not throwing over 67 metres at the World Championships, you’re in no contention to medal.”

The consistent left-hander launched his discus past 64 metres in 11 meets with four over 65m, including a season’s best of 66.60m. He was 12th, with Dacres ninth, at the World Championships final in Eugene, Oregon where the event produced brilliant throws. Six men threw over 66m in the qualifying round and three went beyond the 68m line.

In the final, five soared past 67m, with two over 69m and the untouchable Slovenian Kristian Ceh a clear winner setting a championship record of 71.13m.

Australian Matthew Denny, fifth in Eugene, later tossed 67.26m to win the Commonwealth Games, with Smikle third.

The grateful Jamaican is therefore looking to improve ... a lot. “When I look back, I see all the hard work and consistency playing its part in my success and, obviously, for some of these championships, I could have improved in a number of ways but, you know how sport is, in the moment you have to deal with what’s in front of you and the important thing for me this season was that in most of my competitions I’ve given a good account of myself and there is room for improvement, a lot of room for improvement,” he said.

The Julian Robinson-coached thrower thinks 2022 has advanced his ambition.

“It has put me in a position to work on the small things and the other parts of my development as a discus thrower, to be more competitive in 2023, and, for me personally, as I said previously, I have room to grow and this season has set me up well to just build for next season.”

His victory in Freeport carried another plus. “I was also very happy for this win because it also helps my ranking points and, with better ranking, that equals better meets for the next season. So I’m just pretty grateful,” he said.

The NACAC champion has his eyes on the horizon. “Next year is Budapest. I know what I’ll be facing worldwide and I just want to keep a high level of consistency and have a good two years, and that includes the Olympics as well and looking for something big between next year and 2024,” Smikle envisaged.