Smikle stands tall after record-breaking feat

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Saturday, April 02, 2011    

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AFTER being overshadowed by his teammate Chad Wright last year, Calabar's Traves Smikle is back on top of the podium in the discus throw in a big way.

And having created history for Jamaica in 2009 when he won a bronze medal at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Bressanone, Italy, Smikle was relegated to second place behind Wright, who swept all before him last year, including lifting the national junior record to 63.11m at the CARIFTA Games last year.

Smikle also watched as Wright won the event at the Penn Relays last year, setting a new record after fouling on his three throws.

All that is behind Smikle, who grew two inches in the last year to 6' 3" and weighs in at 231lbs after he smashed the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys Champs Class One and national junior record with a massive 66.88m on his first throw in the final at the National Stadium on Thursday.

Smikle, who took back the NJR from Wright after he threw 63.96m in February, had a brilliant series where he cleared 63m on all five legal throws.

After his big throw he followed up with 64.89m, 63.80m, foul, 63.6m and 64.75m -- all well beyond the 58.86m Wright set on his way to gold last year.

His new NJR was the fourth longest ever for a junior competitor and made him the third best ever behind world record holder Mykyta Nesterenko of the Ukraine, who has the top two -- 70.13m and 69.78m -- both done in 2008 when he won the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and Margus Hunt of Estonia, who threw 67.32 in 2006.

Smikle, who will seek to win the double as he goes after the shot put gold today, has dominated the event so far this year and had the top 10 marks leaving Germany's Benedikt Stienen's 57.31m done in February far down the list.

The aim, he told the Observer on Thursday, "was to go over 65m, once I did that I knew where I was", and said he is now setting his sights on making the team to the IAAF World Championships in South Korea later this year.

"I will be at Senior Trials as World Championships is the goal," he said minutes after winning the gold.

Before that, however, he said he hoped to be "consistent for the rest of the year" leading up the CARIFTA Games, Junior Trials and the Pan-American Games in Florida in July.

Smikle, who as a finalist at the World Juniors in Canada last summer, has his picks of Colleges but said he has narrowed down his choices and lists Nebraska, Kentucky and the University of Michigan as the front-runners.

He admitted he was leaning towards Nebraska where his good friend and teammate Wright is now a student and that would be great news to Nebraska's coach Matt Martin, who watched from the stands on Thursday.



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