Smikle, Dacres discus show wows 600 at King Of The Ring
With a record entry of 600 throwers bearing witness, discus throwers Traves Smikle and Fedrick Dacres put on a world-class show at the recent King of the Ring all throws meet at Excelsior High School. After a day when Dacres and Smikle were...
With a record entry of 600 throwers bearing witness, discus throwers Traves Smikle and Fedrick Dacres put on a world-class show at the recent King of the Ring all throws meet at Excelsior High School. After a day when Dacres and Smikle were celebrated like superstars, meet director Michael Vassell said the record entry is a sign that the throws are alive and well in Jamaica.
The lefthanded Smikle defeated his training partners with a winning mark of 68.14 metres, a personal best and a qualifier for this year’s big meet, the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
“It was a scary proposition to have to handle that many entries, but one thing I must say is that the officials came through, and we managed to pull it off,” Vassell said last Tuesday.
Entries more than doubled the previous high from Vassell’s series of throws meets.
“I remember we had 250 at St Hugh’s, and that was a really large number, and since we moved to Excelsior, which has a lot more space, we’re averaging around 200,” he recalled.
Asked to explain this year’s jump in entries, he pointed to the much-medalled Dacres.
“When a Federick Dacres comes in and is hero-worshipped, it kind of tells you the impact that they’re having on locals. People wanted autographs, wanted him to sign their shoes, people wanted him to sign shirts, that kind of thing. It’s like seeing them up close, that this is the Fedrick Dacres, the Traves Smikle, that is kind of where we are,” Vassell said.
The godfather of the local throws movement says infrastructure is needed to continue the trend.
“We are uniquely poised, and apart from the successes of a Dacres and a Smikle in recent years, we need to look at just 2022. Young Kobe Lawrence got a historic shot put silver at the World Under-20 Championships, so it means that we have a young group that is coming up that is ready to take over the mantle, so we need to provide opportunities, facilities, for them to get a chance to excel.”
With Dacres also throwing well, 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Smikle moved past the World Championships qualifying standard - 67 metres - in the fifth round to follow earlier efforts measured at 66.56m and 66.05m. Dacres reached 66.32m, and 2021 Olympic finalist Chad Wright was third with 59.74m.
“That is our prime-time event. It’s like everybody looks forward to the 100m final. I mean, at this meet, everybody looks forward to the men’s discus, and it was great to see the two guys going at it,” Vassell said.
The field also included 2018 World Under-20 champion Kai Chang, who finished fifth.
“In that group, you have a Kai Chang. You have Chad Wright. You have Traves. You have Dacres, so you have four people who are capable of throwing over 60 metres, going in the same circle, all encouraging, everybody cheering everybody, encouraging everybody,” the meet director said, still amazed.