Golden boy Gayle to sprint next season, says Francis

Golden boy Gayle to sprint next season, says Francis

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, October 04, 2019

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DOHA, Qatar — Freshlyminted long jump gold medallist Tajay Gayle will be running the 100m next season, and his Coach Stephen Francis believes he will be good enough to earn an individual spot for the Olympic Games.

“He is a fairly confident youngster and we are going to try sprinting him next year in addition to the long jump. And I think that it will probably mean that he will get a lot better at the long jumping and at the sprinting,” Francis told the Jamaica Observer.

The long jump is an event in which athletes combine speed, strength and agility. All those were evident as Gayle soared to an amazing 8.69 metres and won gold at the World Championships, and as their MVP (maximising velocity and Power) name suggests, the club aims to do just that with Gayle.

The 23-year-old has a personal best of 10.42 seconds for the 100m achieved March 2, 2019. When the Observer quizzed Francis on how much faster Gayle can get there was a smile on the usually serious face.

“I am hoping that he will get good enough next year that he can contend for an individual spot in the 100m. I am not sure, but I suspect that it might be possible. So we will have a go at it and see what happens,” he replied.

Over the years, top sprinters Jesse Owen, Carl Lewis and Marion Jones used tremendous speed to help them excel in the jump event, and there were calls for sprint legend Usain Bolt to take a crack at, not only the long jump, but the world record.

According to a projection by Engineering Sport — the centre of sports engineering research — Bolt with his 100m world record speed of 9.58 seconds could have smashed the long jump record of 8.95m by 1.55m, and set it at 10.50m.

Their famous examples included Jones, who boasted a long jump distance of 7.31m and 10.65s in the 100 metres; Owen with an 8.13m long jump and 10.2s in the 100 metres; and Lewis with a long jump effort of 8.91m and 9.86 seconds for the 100 metres.

With all that in mind, it is not hard to see why Francis — considered a genius in the coaching world — would want to have a crack at the 100m with Gayle's 8.69m recorded as the 10th best in the history.

“He has done well enough and is getting better. I think next year he will be a far more focused athlete now that he understands that the extra work he puts in this year has worked itself out,” said Francis.

“It is hard for me to say anything about him because I don't think he is close to where I think he can end up,” he added.

“But so far, it has been difficult. He is from the ghetto, went to Papine High, often times it is difficult to get people from his background to focus on something which requires hard work,” Francis explained.


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