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Different stage, same Jaydon

Hibbert undaunted by senior World Championships debut

Published:Saturday | August 19, 2023 | 12:07 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Triple jumper Jaydon Hibbert at a JAAA press conference at the Puma House, Budapest, Hungary on Thursday, August 17.
Triple jumper Jaydon Hibbert at a JAAA press conference at the Puma House, Budapest, Hungary on Thursday, August 17.

BUDAPEST, Hungary

In three years Jaydon Hibbert soared to the heights of the junior level, with his World under-20 title victory last year making him one for the future.

Now as the 18-year-old makes his senior World Athletics Championships debut this afternoon at 12:37 in the men’s triple jump qualifiers at the National Athletics Centre in Budapest, he is not only relishing competing with the best but undaunted by the magnitude of the moment.

In his rookie season at the University of Arkansas, he claimed the World under-20 record of 17.87 metres, still the best jump in the world this year.

But while it will be a different level beyond anything he has done before, Hibbert finds comfort in the fact that it does not change his mindset or his approach.

“My coach in Jamaica always says even though the stakes are higher or it’s a bigger level, I don’t think it is anything different. It is still the same, it is still jumping, the same mentality, it is just different competitors. So the only thing I would say is different is the maturity and the experience level,” Hibbert said. “I’m not nervous, I’m just super excited to compete with the big dogs and just bring it and who wins, wins.”

While first NCAA could not have gone any better, it could not have started any tougher, and for those earlier challenges in transitioning to the rigours of the college system, he is appreciative of.

“It was hard to transition from high school. On the first day of training, I had weights (training) and they were assessing my body and they were like my shoulders are off, these were off. A lot of things were off. So I have to get those fixed before I could actually start doing the heavy lifting. And then when I started lifting, I didn’t know the technique for lifting. So I adapted to that and then the speed training and then jumping,” Hibbert said “It took time but I got it enough to get me through the season. And I’m still growing even now. I think there is more to come. It doesn’t stop here.”

What has not stopped is his spiritual growth and how much it has helped him with what he is about to experience.

“My thing is just stay humble, just stay true to yourself, focus on your journey. I think my faith allowed me to focus on my own journey and what God had for me and not what He had for everybody else,” Hibbert said.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com