Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Javelin hopes Graham and Spencer aim far

Published:Monday | March 20, 2023 | 12:52 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Devon Spencer in action at the GC Foster Classic on March 11.
Devon Spencer in action at the GC Foster Classic on March 11.
Elvis Graham in action at the GC Foster Classic on March 11.
Elvis Graham in action at the GC Foster Classic on March 11.

Aside from double Commonwealth Games runner-up Olivia McKoy, Jamaica has a pretty bleak history in the javelin. However, Elvis Graham and Devon Spencer are leading a charge to change that. The pair showed there might be light at the end of the tunnel at the recent GC Foster Classic, won by Graham, inches short of his personal best and not far from the national record of 75.01 metres.

Graham threw his implement past 74 metres twice, with his first two attempts taped at 74.10m and 74.15m. Spencer set a personal best in second place at 69.20m.

Throwing at home in front of a knowledgeable and attentive audience, the 26-year-old Graham quietly voiced his ambition for the event afterwards.

“It was a good competition. I wanted to get the national record today, but I didn’t get it, but I’m still grateful. I finished injury free,” said the 2019, 2021 and 2022 national champion.

The Hopewell High School graduate wasn’t far off his personal best of 74.34m.

Graham placed fifth at the NACAC Open Championships in The Bahamas last year and has his eye on this year’s Pan-American Games and the World Championships, which has a qualifying standard of 85.20m.

“Working on it,” he said, “I want to get in some international meets so I can get some (world ranking) points, as well and just keep going,” he explained of his goals for this season.

He reached a distance of 68.98m in his first competition of the year, the all throws King of the Ring meet on February 11.

Spencer has suffered through injuries since he scored a record 64.08m with the junior implement to win at the 2014 staging of Boys’ Championships for St Elizabeth Technical High. Now, with his days as a student at the University of Technology behind, the dreadlocked Spencer is twinning work in the information technology sector with training alongside 2015 World Championship shot put bronze medallist O’Dayne Richards at the MVP Track Club.

He’s happy to be able to throw. “Oh, it’s lovely. It’s lovely. I love sports and I’ll try to go as long as I can in this event. You know, working and training is hard but I’m pushing,” he explained.

He was a little disappointed with his personal best.

“Just been trying to get healthy, stay healthy. Today is one of my most consistent meets, so I’m grateful. Wanted to get over 70m today but, you know, we’ll keep working and try to get it further down in the year,” he remarked.

Neither Graham, who has been past 70m in four of the last five seasons, nor Spencer made a big deal about the swirling wind that prevailed during their competition.

“It wasn’t that bad,” said Graham. “As you can see, the wind was against us a little bit,” the runner-up outlined, “but nonetheless, my technique does support a headwind, so it wasn’t that bad.”