Smith soars into long jump final
Tyrone Smith has declared himself ready to challenge for a medal in tomorrow morning’s long jump final at Carrara Stadium.
Smith advanced to the medal round after leaping 7.89 metres and feels confident of delivering something special in a hotly contested final.
All of the medal contenders, including Luvo Manyonga the South African world champion, Australia’s Fabrice Lapierre, the 2010 Delhi Games gold medal-winner, and team-mate Henry Frayne were among the 12 qualifiers.
Smith, 34, believes Frayne’s qualifying jump of 8.34, which surpassed Lapierre’s previous Games record of 8.30, is a sign of things to come.
“I think it’s going to be a cracking final,” Smith said. “The Commonwealth Games record is going to be demolished by multiple people.
“In my opinion it’s going to be the best ever long jump final at the Commonwealths.
“I don’t have too many big moments left in my career and tomorrow is one of them. I can’t afford to squander anymore opportunities.
“I’ve got a feel for it and know what not to do. I want to take full advantage of this opportunity and just bring home a medal.”
Smith, who holds the national record of 8.34 metres, knows he will have to replicate that kind of distance to stand a chance of a podium finish.
But the experienced jumper says he has learnt from harsh lessons of the past and feels relaxed and ready to hit peak form.
“I’ve psyched myself out way too many times in this career of mine,” said Smith, who jumped 7.52 in first attempt. “I decided to relax as much as possible and did a bit of reading to try and take my mind off of things.
“I came out and did a really short warm-up … I wasn’t like ‘ah, I’ve need to a championship warm-up!’ It will be a lot of stiff competition and I’m feeling very proud to be in it.”
Smith says he will need to fix some technical issues if he is to capture his first medal at a major competition. He came closest at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, finishing fourth with a leap of 8.07.
“I knew it was job done,” Smith said of his qualifying jump,” he said. “My left leg kind of dropped a little bit; I saw on the film. If it hadn’t been for my leg it would have been an eight metres jump.
“I wanted to do it in the first jump but the nerves and atmosphere got to me a little bit.
“I didn’t have quite the push out of the back that I needed, but I fixed that on the second one and knew I had a good jump there.
“There a couple of technical things I can fix and I know it will be even better on board.”
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