Three Jamaican jumpers to boost University of Arkansas
Wayne Pinnock lands a personal best of 8.14m in his lone jump to win the men’s long jump during the National Senior and Junior Athletics Championships at the National Stadium last week. (Photo: Observer file)

THE University of Arkansas’s men’s horizontal jump programme will be significantly boosted with the addition of three Jamaicans — all former Kingston College athletes — for the start of the next NCAA track and field season.

It was confirmed on Saturday that double NCAA long jump champion Wayne Pinnock and Olympian Carey McLeod had transferred from the University of Tennessee, while Shakwon Coke had signed for the “Razorbacks” as well after completing his two years at Barton Community College.

The news of Pinnock and McLeod transferring from Tennessee broke last weekend and was confirmed on Friday when it was posted on the Arkansas website.

According to the website: “Pinnock and McLeod combined to score 35.5 points at the 2022 NCAA Championships between the indoor long jump, outdoor long jump, and 4 x 100m relay.”

Pinnock, who jumped a personal best 8.14m to win the Jamaican senior championships last week and was named to the team for the World Athletics Championships, “recently won the NCAA outdoor long jump title with 8.00m, after claiming the NCAA Indoor title 7.92m in March”.

McLeod, the only person to compete in the long jump and triple jump at the Tokyo Olympic Games, finished runner-up to Pinnock in the NCAA indoor long jump 7.91m and placed fourth in the NCAA outdoor long jump 7.90m.

“Coke is a long and triple jumper who was named the 2021 NJCAA National Field Athlete of the Year. He won six NJCAA titles, with four long jump victories and a pair of triple jump titles while adding three runner-up finishes,” the Arkansas website pointed out.

The Jamaican “produced the third-best long jump in NJCAA history with [an] 8.16m leap, as well as the fourth-best triple jump in all-conditions with a wind-aided 16.70m”.

They will seek to extend a tradition of excellence by Kingston College athletes in Fayetteville, one that includes Olympians and World Championships competitors in Alain Bailey, Tarik Batchelor, Omar McLeod and Clive Pullen.

— Paul Reid

Paul Reid

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