Smith hoping for local triple jump boostTuesday, August 17, 2021
Edwin Allen standout field event athlete Ackelia Smith is hoping to continue to raise the profile of the triple jump event in Jamaica when she competes at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, which get going on Wednesday.
A winner at the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships in May, Smith — ranked number three in the world in her age group — admits to feeling a little bit of pressure heading into the championships.
“It kinda does. Your country is expecting you to come back with at least the bronze medal, but I know I can go out there and make my country proud, and that's the best thing I can hope for right now.”
Smith is happy that Champs took place this year after being cancelled in 2020 and said it has aided her preparations for the biggest championships of her life so far.
“It did get me ready for the level of competition I will be expecting. At the junior level, Champs is one of the biggest championships for youth right now, and competing at Champs gives you that competitive edge that you really need going into these competitions.”
She is hoping that her performance in Nairobi will exceed all that she has achieved in the sport so far.
“I want to go out there and get a new personal best, and hopefully I hit the 14-metre mark and set myself up for university,” Smith said.
Having watched two outstanding Jamaican women compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Smith is hoping that she can inspire younger athletes in the same manner that her heroines have inspired her.
“Both ladies are my role models — Kimberly Williams and Shanieka Ricketts. I really look up to them and I want to be like them. I want persons to see Jamaican athletes in the field, in the triple jump, especially, and I want them to say, 'Yes, I want to do that event, and, yes, we are good at that event.' ”
Smith believes her idols deserve to be showered with praises as they continue to carry the torch in the field events for Jamaica.
“They are female athletes out there representing the country and they are really doing their best,” said Smith, who will begin competing in the afternoon session on Thursday.
— Dwayne Richards