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Smith makes bright start to season

Tyrone Smith said he was encouraged by his performance in the long jump in his season opener at the Tom Tellez Invitational at the University of Houston.

Smith believes there is “much more to come” after winning the event with a jump of 7.93 metres on Friday as he builds towards the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, and the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, this summer.

The University of Houston has been a happy hunting ground for Smith, who broke his own Bermudian record with a leap of 8.34 at the same event in 2017.

“To start this year with nearly eight metres — well, I'm definitely pleased with where I'm at,” said Smith, who was coached by Tom Tellez for several seasons.

“I had one really big foul, probably more than eight metres. To have something so solid to start off with gives me a good indication of where I may end up this season.”

Smith endured a disjointed season last year, underperforming at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, finishing tenth, but has enjoyed a strong pre-season and is optimistic about the months ahead.

“With the World Indoor Championships [in Birmingham, England] and the Commonwealth Games [on the Gold Coast, Australia] being so early last season, I never really got to my full strength and speed.

“I'm significantly stronger than where I was this time last year and more in line with 2017.

“It's just a matter of managing everything, staying injury free and holding on to this strength I've worked so hard to build up.”

It also promises to be a busy summer in Smith's personal life, with the 34-year-old scheduled to start his MBA at the University of Texas at Austin before marrying his girlfriend Sandi Morris, a United States pole vaulter.

“I'm really excited about starting business school,” Smith said. “I'll moving to Austin and commuting back to Houston.

“I actually start school around the same time as the Pan Ams in August; I've had to get an exemption so I can go and compete in Lima.

“I'll then come back and train through to the World Championships [in September and October] and then I'll be getting ready for my wedding. It's going to be a pretty big year!”

Smith hopes to complete the modern Olympiad cycle, finishing his career at the Tokyo Games in next year, which would be his fourth Olympics after Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.

“I'm looking at Toyko being my last track major meet,” he added. “Although I wouldn't be surprised if you catch me at a CAC [Central American and Caribbean Games] or NACAC [North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships] team or something like that.”

Feeling stronger: Tyrone Smith has a busy season ahead with the Pan American Games and World Championships (Photograph by Dita Alangkara/AP)

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Published May 06, 2019 at 12:27 am (Updated May 06, 2019 at 2:07 pm)

Smith makes bright start to season

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