Sat | Apr 20, 2024

Pinnock ready for the moment

Published:Thursday | August 24, 2023 | 12:06 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Jamaica’s Wayne Pinnock leaps out to a world-leading 8.54 metres during long jump qualification at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, yesterday.
Jamaica’s Wayne Pinnock leaps out to a world-leading 8.54 metres during long jump qualification at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, yesterday.
Tajay Gayle gives nothing away after a last-ditch jump thrust him into the long jump final at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, yesterday.
Tajay Gayle gives nothing away after a last-ditch jump thrust him into the long jump final at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, yesterday.
Carey McLeod on his way to an early shower after a one-and-done qualification for the long jump final at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, yesterday.
Carey McLeod on his way to an early shower after a one-and-done qualification for the long jump final at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, yesterday.
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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY:

LAST YEAR, Wayne Pinnock, thanks to his father’s counsel, made his World Championships debut and surprised himself with a place in the long jump final.

With that experience behind him, Pinnock is determined to take the biggest step of his career and has already made a statement of intent with yesterday’s impressive showing.

Pinnock, the two-time national champion, will lead a trio of Jamaicans, Carey McLeod and former world champion Tajay Gayle, into the men’s long jump final this afternoon at 12:30 p.m. This is the first time three athletes from the island will compete in the long jump final of a global major championships.

Pinnock unleashed a leap of 8.54 metres on his first attempt, not only smashing his personal best, but setting a new world lead. Pinnock’s confidence comes from how well he did in Oregon last year despite an injury-plagued season.

This year in Budapest, Pinnock is just waiting on the moment.

“Coach just told me to get out there, push my first six out the back, keep my transition, and take off. I prayed for this moment, and it came. And I am very grateful. Words can’t explain how I feel,” Pinnock said.

“I know that I was putting in the work, but I wasn’t expecting that. It’s God’s work. When I took off, I just felt like my arm just started propelling. I saw the distance. I didn’t know it was that far.”

Having stayed healthy all season, he now finds himself not just in the mix for a medal, but being the man everybody has their eye on.

Still, Pinnock wants to remain focused, control his own performance and give himself every chance of grabbing a medal.

“Coming from last season when I had some major injuries, I worked on it this season and made sure that I had no problems going in,” Pinnock said.

“Tomorrow [today], I have to go out there, do the same thing, and if a medal comes, it comes.”

Pinnock said he felt ready to take the field in Eugene as well but knew his injuries limited him. Now he is confident that he can take any and all comers.

“Last year, I knew the field wasn’t better than me. I just wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t at my best. So I just ensured that this season I came and I executed,” Pinnock said.

McLeod, Pinnock’s University of Arkansas teammate, also only needed one jump, an 8.19-metre effort, to book his space in the final. Feeling healthy and confident, McLeod promised something special.

“If I wasn’t fit, I wouldn’t get that mark. It says a lot. So come out tomorrow (today) if you want to see fireworks,” McLeod said.

Gayle landed 8.12 with his final jump to secure eighth place and his spot in the final, his first since winning the title in 2019. Gayle did not advance to the final in Oregon last year after suffering from a bone bruise.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com