Canadian Javelin thrower relishes Jamaican opportunity

Thursday, July 05, 2018

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Despite a very low spectator turnout and a small number of entrants, all of the athletes who performed at the inaugural staging of the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association (JAAA) Under-18 Invitational Meet were happy to be associated with the event.

The hastily arranged event was put on by the JAAA after the U-18 qualification event scheduled for Nicaragua got cancelled last month due to civil unrest.

However, the two-day event saw a number of athletes achieving personal bests, including Canadian javelin thrower Jarrett Chong. Despite being the lone competitor in the event, Chong was able to focus and deliver a new personal best of 67.26m on his very first attempt.

In fact, his five legal attempts (out of six) were all better than his personal best before coming to Jamaica. His sequence in the event was 67.26, 64.96, 66.11, 67.13 and 64.93, before he fouled his finally attempt going for another big one.

The 17-year-old said he was not surprised by his own performances as his build-up to the meet caused him to be confident ahead of Sunday's second day.

“I had a really good practice day on Friday, [so] I was looking for something big today and it came out,” he declared.

The weather is a major factor in the preparation of athletes from that part of North America as it sometimes gets bitterly cold and severely restricts preparation, but Chong is focused and determined and has a specific goal that he wants to achieve this season.

“I ended last year with 61 and I was hoping that I would be pushing for a record this year to 75.99, so I mentally prepared a lot,” he disclosed.

While a little bit short of where he would want to be, the teenager was thankful for what he was able to deliver on his first visit to the Caribbean island.

“My training hasn't been exactly where I want it to be, but it's still pretty good, that's why I am here right now,” he said confidently.

He is still way off the record that he wants to get, but Chong is hoping that he will still be able to get it in 2018.

“For sure I have two more meets to get the national youth record, but maybe I will have a couple more after that. I am not sure at the moment.”

Jan Zelezny, the world record holder in the Javelin who is from the Czech Republic, and Johannes Vetter from Germany are the two athletes that Chong idolises and plans to emulate.

“His (Johannes Vetter) technique is currently, in my opinion, the best technique out there in the world right now, and I kinda wanna follow his style a little bit, as well as adding some Jan Zelezny in there as well for flexibility and relaxation,” Chong explained.

As young as he is, the Canadian prodigy realises that it will take time, effort, sacrifices and change to achieve his dreams in this very technical event, and he is prepared to do all of that to achieve ultimate success.

“I don't think I have the right coach to teach me in their styles yet, so I am hoping to go to Germany this summer, because it would help me along a little bit better.”

With all the correct boxes checked, it is left for Chong to fulfil his tremendous potential, as his performance in Jamaica suggests that he is certainly the future of Canadian javelin throwing.

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