'More to Come'
Distin says 'minor adjustments' paved the way for her Commonwealth gold, promises improved performance
Lamara Distin shows off her gold medal and stuffed toy replica of the Games' mascot after winning the women's high jump, clearing 1.95m, on Sunday's final day of the Commonwealth Games at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, UK. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

A change of mindset could have led to Lamara Distin winning the gold medal in the women's high jump competition, beating newly crowned world champion Eleanor Patterson of Australia in the process on Sunday's final day of track and field at the Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

The Hanover native, who started high school at Rusea's High before moving to Vere Technical and then Hydel High, had finished ninth in the World Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, two weeks earlier, before pulling off the upset to close her season on a high, with a clearance of 1.95m.

Distin, who broke both national records - indoors and outdoors during the season, won the NCAA indoor and outdoor titles, said she did not change much in the break between both championships, except in her mindset.

Lamara Distin clears the bar on her way to winning the gold at the Commonwealth Games at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, UK on Sunday. (Photo: Naptali Junior)

"In all honesty, there wasn't anything different that I did," she told the Jamaica Observer West. "I really wanted to have fun going into the Commonwealth Games, and by doing that, I was able to relax and keep my composure."

The other adjustment she said was, "execution, it's how I execute each approach even when the bar goes higher."

"Most times I tend to change my approach just because the bar goes higher thinking that I should be more aggressive on my approach whereas the correct course of action is to simply maintain my strategy regardless of the height," said Distin.

Going into the Commonwealth Games she said, "My aim was to just have fun. I know once my approach was good I know that I am in a good place to do great things. I just try to focus on myself and no one else even when I know a person is better."

In Eugene, she had a best height of 1.93m for ninth but said it was an unforgettable experience.

"Even though I went into the championship with high expectations and did not place on the podium, I am still happy for the opportunity to compete against such great jumpers in the world. It was an incredible experience to win at my first Commonwealth Games, especially considering I was up against the world champion. I am very ecstatic and thankful for the season I had. There is a lot more in store and I just have to stay patient and humble," she told the Observer West.

After starting at the second height of 1.76m at the Commonwealth Games, Distin had one blemish at 1.92m which she cleared on her second try then cleared 1.95m on her first attempt.

Patterson, who won in Eugene, Oregon, with a personal best of 2.02m failed all three times at 1.95m, while another Jamaican Kimberly Williamson also failed to get past that height and got the bronze on count back.

Distin, who had set a new National outdoor record 1.97m earlier in the season and had set a target to get over 2.00m, rated her season highly.

"Even though I didn't get the 2.00m I wanted, my season was fantastic. I'm just truly grateful to God for allowing me to accomplish such great things. Two NCAA champion, two SEC champion, and also competing at my very first World Championships set me up for greater things ahead," she argued.

Her success, she said, would set her up well for the upcoming season.

"It allows for me to be more aware of what to anticipate moving forward and it also allows me to gain more knowledge with my event," said Distin.

BY PAUL A REID Observer West writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

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