Wed | Oct 4, 2023

Speedy Serena loves to jump

Published:Tuesday | January 10, 2023 | 1:15 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Serena Cole
Serena Cole
Jeremy Delisser
Jeremy Delisser

With her blazing speed, Serena Cole is a long jump coach’s dream athlete. Understandably, her jumps coach Jeremy Delisser is hoping that the outgoing Edwin Allen High School senior will continue with the long jump and the 100 metres throughout her career in athletics.

“Definitely,” Delisser said on Saturday at the Jamaica College Development meet, “there’s no question about that, and that speed will get better. It’s good to hear for a change that a good sprinter loves to jump.”

Cole clocked 11.14 seconds for the 100 metres silver medal at last year’s World Athletics Under-20 Championships. Earlier in the season, she scored a long jump personal best – 6.36 metres – to win at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, with another gold medal in the triple jump.

The 18-year-old loves to jump.

“She does. I mean, I’ve asked many times, and she says ‘yes sir’,” Delisser intoned. A few hours earlier, Cole herself said, “Yes. I do like the long jump.”

Often the thrill of sprinting leads athletes to abandon the jumps, but Cole seems committed.

“She enjoys it, so she can do both events. There’s no rule in the book that says she can’t do both, at any level for that matter,” Delisser said.

“Everything is a process, step by step and taking one day at a time,” he underlined.

Speed helps. Jamaica’s long jump record is held by Elva Goulbourne at 7.16 metres and she was a formidable sprinter at Dinthill Technical High School. As a senior international, she did sprint relay duty for Jamaica at the World Championships, the Pan-American Games and the Commonwealth Games.

Notably, American Tianna Bartoletta clocked 10.85 seconds for the 100m, ran the first leg on a world record 4x100m team at the 2012 Olympics while also essaying a career with two World titles and an Olympic gold medal in the long jump.

Cole won the Class Two long jump in 2021 but coach and athlete alike treat her JC winner as a season opening test of technical tweaks.

“We’re trying out new techniques because I’m more advanced in the ones that I was doing in 2022 and further back from Class Three coming up, so we’re trying different techniques. Hopefully, I will get that technique. I’m just going to come out here and do what he says,” Cole explained.

Delisser is expecting her to improve as the season goes on.

“Traditionally, over the years, she starts off slow and then she gets going. It looks pretty much similar in terms of that normal process, and we’ll just take it step by step with her. Mentally, she’s ready. She’s there and we’ll just keep working and gradually improve,” the coach said.

The national under-20 record is 6.58 metres by Shanice Porter. The JC meet may have been a sign of intent. In 2022, Cole began competing in the long jump on January 22 and she jumped into action three weeks earlier this season.