LONDON, England — Damar Forbes, Jamaica’s lone long jumper at the 28th Summer Olympics thinks that being in the shadows of his more famous teammates may just work to his benefit as he seeks Jamaica’s second medal in the men’s long jump and first since James Beckford’s silver medal in Atlanta in 1996.
“I am under no pressure to perform,” he told the Jamaica Observer recently. “I feel like all the sprinters are under more pressure than I am... they have taken away the spotlight from me.”
The Louisiana State University athlete, whose family migrated to the United States when he was seven years old, will be competing for Jamaica in his second global championships, and he said he is ready to roll. “I feel like I want to throw myself in the ring with the big fellows and pull out a medal.”
Forbes qualified for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last year, but was 11th in qualifying with a then sub-par 7.91m.
So far this year, Forbes, who just completed his third year at LSU, has a best jump of 8.13m and he told the Observer he was in good form. “I am feeling pretty good. I came here to compete and as the only long jumper on the team, I want to represent and bring home a medal and maybe a title for Jamaica.”
Forbes will not have to wait long to get his medal quest underway as he is one of over a dozen Jamaican athletes who will bow into action on today’s first day of athletics competition at Olympic Stadium.
He will compete in Group A and will be the last jumper of the 21 in that group to try to qualify for tomorrow’s final. He will hope to get the 8.10m automatic qualifier as soon as he can.
At first, the quiet, withdrawn Forbes said he took some time to settle in the pre-Olympic training camp in Birmingham, but then the warmth and friendliness of his teammates have helped him to open up and he said that has also helped him in training. “The camaraderie of the team has helped me to work harder and to perform,” he said, before slipping into patois: “I feel like good tings a go happen.”