'I wasn't discouraged,' says courageous GayleTuesday, August 03, 2021
TOKYO, Japan — Jamaica's World Champion long jumper Tajay Gayle is one courageous athlete.
Despite his Coach Stephen Francis hinting that he would not take the field in the final of the long jump competition, the 25-year-old duly presented himself at the start, much to the surprise of many on Monday (Sunday night Jamaica time).
At the end f the day it didn't work out as his 7.69m, the only legal attempt, was good enough only for 11th place. But as he had said on Saturday as he exited the track with a heavily strapped left leg, his knee would have to break for him not to continue.
Clearly in pain and great discomfort then, he fouled his first attempt, landed a conservative 6.72m on his second jump, before cutting the sand at 8.14m on his final attempt to qualify for the final.
On Monday he was hoping to get a decent jump which would have been good enough to get him in the top eight and thus give him more time and less stress on his body.
“To take one jump and leave, that was the plan initially, but the two fouls kind of hindered that plan so I ended up moving back further than I should and overstride [on the run up], which led to the 7 plus [7.68m] jump,” he explained.
He admitted that it tested his resolve, character and everything he had, even if he had gone about it the wrong way.
“It took a lot, honestly, because after the prelims I did not sleep none at all. I was up the entire time, icing, out and about, going there, doing that, everything just to fix my knee. I got a little sleep for around four hours, wake up at 2:00 am, and back at it again trying to fix my knee – and I think that was the mistake I made because as much as how my knee needs to fix, my body needs the rest as well, and I guess that was a factor.”
Considering the pros and the cons of competing on an injured leg, he said he wasn't discouraged by the varying degrees of comments.
“There is a lot of talks with people talking about be careful, I'm fretting, and all kinds of stuff. Some people say you are young, you have next year, don't jump, don't do that, don't do this. It was annoying at a point but I wasn't discouraged, honestly, because I had a goal. [I] didn't make that goal but I can't complain, that's just part of the game. So, I won't let this hold me down because at the end of the day I'm still the World Champion and I still can jump as far as I can. Once the knee is okay, then I'm okay.”
Miltiadis Tentoglo of Greece won the event with 8.41m, ahead of the Cuban pair of Juan Miguel Echevarria (8.41m) and Maykel Masso with 8.21m.
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