VETERAN sports administrator Bruce James and National Coach David Riley have backed national junior triple jumper Jaydon Hibbert to break the national senior record in the event this year.
Hibbert, who is the reigning World Under-20 champion, has been in scintillating form this season, which saw him producing a world-leading 17.87m to win the triple jump at the South East Conference Division One Collegiate Track and Field Championships in the United States on Saturday.
His mark also surpases the 38-year-old World Under-20 record of 17.50m set by Volker Mai of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1985.
Hibbert, who is now competing for the University of the Arkansas, has moved ahead of the previous world-leading mark of 17.81m which was held by Hugues Fabrice Zango of Burkina Faso.
Hibbert’s effort is just outside the Jamaican record of 17.92m which was set by James Beckford in 1995.
“He is five centimetres short of the Jamaican record and, I believe, if in May you are five centimetres short of the Jamaican [record] then I think it is quite possible that he will break it [record] this year,” James told the Jamaica Observer.
“Breaking a world record is very special because…it is not an easy feat. He has already qualified for the World Championships and he already is going there so there is no debate about that, and so anything over 17.70 puts you in contention for a medal so he is already in medal contention,” said James who is president of the MVP track club.
Riley, who is the head coach of Excelsior High School, said he would not be surprised should Hibbert break the national record this year because he has proven himself to be one of the best triple jumpers in the world this year.
“He is so close to it and so [he] might as well,” said Riley. “There are so many records that he has already broken and that record from James Beckford is one of the oldest on the books and we haven’t seen anybody with his talent come so close, and so if I was him, I will shoot at it,” he said.
Riley also shared that Hibbert, along with the other young and up-and-coming triple jumpers in the world, could challenge Great Britain’s Jonathan Edwards’ world record of 18.29m in the next couple of years.
“His performances are very strong, consistent, progressing from last year â€” it is amazing,” Riley said. “On top of that, most of the triple jumpers globally who are doing anything and are top contenders are all very young so you might very well see world record threatening in another two years,” he said.
Riley added that the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships has played a critical part in Hibbert’s development because he was among the first set of boys to compete in the triple jump competition when it was first introduced in Class Two a few years ago.
“I think that Hibbert was part of that group that came out of the Class Two boys’ triple jump which was introduced recently at Champs,” Riley stated. “We were able to have the younger boys practising and competing in the triple jump so this is a good indication of the impact of meets like those to teach the skills from early and have them master the skills to get to this point,” he said.