Ramone Bailey elated at attaining qualifying markMonday, June 26, 2017
BY PAUL A REID
If Saturday's third day of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA)/Puma National Senior Championships at the National Stadium needed any additional drama, Ramone Bailey stepped up in the long jump and on his final attempt, landed in the sand at 8.16m, just one centimetre over the World Championships qualifying mark.
The ensuing celebrations would have rivalled a gold medal revelry at the Olympic Games or World Championships, as all of the other competitors — including five-time defending champion Demar Forbes, who would lose for the first time at a Senior Championships — celebrated the achievement.
The 25-year-old former Wolmer's Boys' School athlete who had a previous personal best of 7.50m set in 2015 while attending Texas Christian University, (TCU) told the Jamaica Observer that he came to the stadium with one thing in mind — to jump far.
“I woke up this morning (Saturday) knowing I could do this,” he said. “I have been working hard. Right after I came home last year, I was at training the very next day, and today I just went out there and executed.”
After four years at TCU, Bailey said he took a year off following graduation in 2015 “to rest my legs and recuperate. This is my first year back and I surprised myself with this huge PB today.
“I just wanted to compete today. I said that it was do or don't, and I wanted to do it badly,” he told the Observer.
The two-time All-American in both the long jump and the 4x100m relay has rekindled his relationship with his high school coach David Riley, who operates the Technique Lab in Kingston. So far the results have been positive.
Returning to Jamaica, he said, has made a big difference. “The atmosphere of being home,” he said, was the start. “No place like home. Being away and feeling home sickness and feeling like I am not fitting in well,” had resulted in a less than outstanding college experience.
Except for a foul on his third attempt on Saturday, Bailey improved with every jump, starting with 7.60m to 7.76m, and in the final he had 7.87m and 7.98m, after Forbes had jumped 8.03m to take the lead on his final jump, responded with his big 8.16m effort.
He understands that making the qualifying mark does not guarantee his spot on the team and that this will be decided by the JAAA's selection committee. “I am feeling good. I don't pick the team, and hopefully I will be selected... I have high hopes right now and the feeling is indescribable,” he said.
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