LONDON, England — After carrying Jamaica's flag in the women's triple jump for years and having piled up an impressive résumé before injuries took a toll on her body, former IAAF World Champion Trecia Smith says she has seen her successor and is ready to pass the baton, but not for at least another year.
The 36-year-old former Mannings School student seems to have found a new lease on life in her triple jumping and rather than bowing out after a successful Olympics here in London and making way for Kimberly Williams, says she has at least one more World Championships in her.
“I am definitely looking forward to the World Championships next year in Moscow,” she told journalists on Sunday after placing seventh in the triple jump with 14.35m, her second season's best of the competition, and one spot behind her heir apparent who had 14.48m after getting a personal best 14.53m in the first round on Friday.
Turning to Williams who was a mere few metres from her, the versatile Smith, who has jumped over 6.70m in the long jump and scored almost 6,000 points in the Heptathlon, joked that she told the former Vere Technical athlete she would have the event all to herself after next year.
Smith, who has a personal best 15.16m in the triple jump, making her the 12th best competitor of all and the 29th best performance, says she still has unfinished business.
“I don't think I have jumped my potential yet you see and until I do that I am not quite satisfied... it's the best I have felt in a long time, so one more year and she can have it all to herself. She is a good replacement.”
The 2005 World champion says her health is the main factor. “Like I said my body feels really good and if I had as many competitions as those girls I probably would have been jumping like this much earlier in the season and now I would have been in a much, much better place,” said Smith, who was fourth in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece and 11th four years ago in Beijing.
She endured an injury plagued 2011 season, forcing her to miss the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea; a freak accident where someone pushed a supermarket trolley into her heel damaging her Achilles tendon and then a hip injury that affected her ability to run and jump as she would have wanted.
As a result of the injuries and her attempt to compensate, she said her rhythm was way off and she fouled a lot in the competitions she did manage to take part in. Despite her season being pain free, it was still not clear sailing as she did not get as many early competitions in as her pre-season conditioning did not start until late as she continued the healing from last season. “My season was not the best of seasons, so for me to finish where I did, it's an achievement for me,” said Smith. Another factor, she said, that helped in a big way to get her to perform as well as she did was her mindset as she was a lot more relaxed. “These Olympics were good,” she told reporters. “This is the first first one where I was totally relaxed and having fun; in Beijing I was not in any (good) form and in Athens I picked up an injury during competition, plus there were a lot of pressure on me in those two, but here I was just able to relax.”