Archibald resets national long jump record

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By Ravin Singh in Jamaica

For the second time this year, Guyanese jumper Emmanuel Archibald has reset the country’s national long jump record to 8.12m.

Archibald made the historic leap on Saturday in Jamaica at the JAAA (Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association) All Comers Meet 1 which was held at the National Stadium, Kingston. In March of this year, the young athlete had set a new record of 8.08m after promising to do same the season before.

Archibald, who trains with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, shared that he entered the meet doing what he always does – sticking to his plan. He is currently on a Government of Guyana athletic scholarship.

“There was nothing special about the meet. I always approach every competition with a positive mindset and give of my best. Some days will be better than some, and we [my coach and I] have been working hard, so it was just about sticking to the plan,” the student-athlete said.

He added that while he is happy with his performance, it doesn’t end there for him.

“If anyone knows me, they will know that I always believe there is room for improvements. So that is my aim, to keep improving my performance.”

Guyana’s Emanuel Archibald competes during the Men’s Long Jump of the Athletics events at the Baku 2017 4th Islamic Solidarity Games at the Olympic Stadium in Baku on May 19, 2017.
(AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK/Baku 2017/AFP-Services)

And one of the men behind his success, who believes that Archibald is on his way to becoming a world champion, is his coach Kerry-Lee Ricketts.

He believes that since the young athlete started school here, there has been marked improvements in his athletic performance.

“I am quite happy with his performance. The way he is running and jumping now is quite different from when he came. He came running 10.7s [in the 100m] and now he is running 10.1s; and he came jumping 7m and now he’s jumping 8m consistently, so we are seeing the fruits of his labour,” he shared with the News Room.

Speaking specifically about the record-breaking jump on Saturday last, Coach Ricketts explained that the young athlete only utilized 15 strides for his leap of 8.12m. He said however, that what is being targeted is a minimum of 19 strides, which, along with his unprecedented speed, will propel him another 10-20m – taking him in the range of 8.30 – 8.40m.

For now though, Coach Ricketts explained that technical work has to be done on Archibald, and this includes perfecting the hitch-kick technique utilised by long jumpers.

With a personal best of 10.17 in the 100m, Archibald is also a feared sprinter both in Guyana and Jamaica. And even while much effort is being invested in his jumping, his coach was eager to note that they have not neglected the sprint event.

“We haven’t given the 100m a break and he has been doing well. We are working on his start and some other technical stuff. I am very confident that we could see a new national record the next time he goes out to run a 100m,” a hopeful Ricketts envisions.

For the remainder of the year, the duo is fixed on qualifying for the World Championships in September, and to make a grand showing at the Guyana National Championships.

“He [Archibald] always does well at home. So I want him to put on a good show for his people. I want the Government of Guyana to see that he is performing and that their investment is one which is reaping great rewards” Coach Ricketts added.

Once the national championships conclude, the aim will be to secure a podium spot at the South American Championships, then to move on to the Pan-American Games to and make a showing there. Archibald is currently ranked in the top two for long jumpers in South America.

This short-term plan will then conclude with him qualifying for the Olympics next year, according to Coach Ricketts.

“We want to put in the work to get to the Olympics next year. We’re not going there to compete, just to get there. Track and field is like any sport, it is about building, and so we are working on building him to make his country proud,” he said, adding that “the future is only bright for him”.

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