Injured Jonielle Smith turns attention to helping teammates
EUGENE, USA — Her dreams of a medal at the IAAF World Junior Championships now up in flames, Jamaica’s Jonielle Smith has quickly turned her attention to trying to help her teammates as best as she can, by being an effective leader.
Smith was voted team captain of the female squad and said she will throw all her energies into working with her teammates and the coaching staff to get them to do their best.
"This gives me a purpose now," the injured athlete told the Jamaica Observer yesterday as she watched her teammates go through a light workout session at Hayward Field. "Before, I would feel like I am here for no reason, so this is my main duty right now."
That duty, she said, involves "everything they want me to do, everything, even training with the girls or looking at what they are doing and trying to help".
Smith said she told the team in a meeting yesterday morning: "I am here 24/7, you can come to me for anything at anytime; I am there for you."
She admitted that not being able to run has been a big blow for her. "Disappointed is an understatement, actually," she said. "There is no word that can tell how I feel right now."
She said at the start of the season she had sat down with Michael Carr, her coach at Wolmer’s Girls’ School, and worked out the season and what she was expecting as each meet came and went. All that work, she had expected, would lead to medalling at the World Junior Championships.
"This was my ultimate goal this season, and I was running fast times, so it was an addition," the Carifta Games Under-20 champion said, "so not being able to run my event is pretty hard".
The injury, she said, is improving and the pain has lessened with each passing day. But she explained that after coming out of the drive phase at about 30 metres, "I am not able to extend my strides without pain, and that is the main issue".
However, Smith has another year left as a junior, and her sights have now shifted to winning a Pan-American Junior gold medal next year.