Sat | Sep 23, 2023

Training tweaks for Dacres, Smikle – Coach Robinson

Published:Tuesday | January 17, 2023 | 1:24 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Coach Julian Robinson
Coach Julian Robinson
Fedrick Dacres
Fedrick Dacres
Traves Smikle
Traves Smikle

In pursuit of medals at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, this August, coach Julian Robinson is tweaking the training programme for his star discus throwers Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle. His objective is to get them to Hungary healthy and ready to throw far.

Speaking after Dacres and Smikle had placed first and second, respectively, for the fifth time in five stagings of the Fuller Memorial meet at Manchester High School last Saturday, Robinson mapped his 2023 training strategy. “I’ve made some changes with Smikle. I’m not bulking him up. I’m not giving him a lot of work. With Dacres, it’s more or less the same thing, but I’m emphasising more explosive work, more throwing, and we’ll see where that gets us,” the coach explained.

“The guys are older, so I can’t push them like I used to do before,” he reasoned.

He watched them open their 2023 campaigns with throws measuring 64.66 and 63.98 metres, respectively.

“It’s not a bad start and all things considered, they did well. However, in light of the World Championship standard, they’re significantly off the pace, but it’s early days yet,” he said.

Smikle actually produced his longest Fuller Memorial throw, surpassing a 62.59m throw in 2019.

The World Championships standard is 67 metres, but athletes can also qualify by accumulating World Ranking points in competitions around the world.

“So even though you want the standard, you know that there are other ways,” Robinson said, “and I want to make sure that my guys are healthy for the entire season.”

Now 28, Dacres lost some training time to injury in 2022; and Smikle, 30, has had his troubles in the past, so coach Robinson is wary but optimistic. “I see where they can improve,” he promised.

Dacres, second in the 2019 World Championships, came back from injuries to be ninth in Eugene last year. Undone by wind conditions in the redesigned Hayward Field stadium in Eugene, Smikle was 12th.

“When Smikle went into the stadium, the wind conditions were not good for left-handers. It kept turning over his discus,” Robinson lamented.

Nevertheless, Smikle took the bronze in the Commonwealth Games and gold at the NACAC Open in The Bahamas, and had throws of 66.60m and 65.73m in separate meets held in Kingston.

“To throw that at the National Stadium is no small feat,” the coach underlined.

Dacres won his silver in 2019 with a distance of 66.94m. As a point of comparison, the Eugene bronze was won by Lithuanian Andrius Gudzius with a throw of 67.55m, and in the 2020 Olympics 67.07m was the third-place distance. With that in mind, Robinson has set the bar at 68 metres for medal hopefuls like Dacres and Smikle.

“We don’t want to just compete and I think to medal now you have to be about 68m,” Robinson said.