Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Knibb wants to be an ‘Olympic finalist’

Published:Tuesday | August 9, 2016 | 8:00 AM
Kellion Knibb practises during the Jamaica team’s training camp in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:

Last September, doctors were inserting metal pins in her wrist to repair torn ligaments following a dislocation.

Now, she is eyeing the women's discus final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Former St Jago star, Kellion Knibb is among a special group of women - a triumvirate completed by Tarasue Barnett and Shadae Lawrence - who will be competing here.

It is the first time that three Jamaican women have qualified to compete in the discus at the same Olympics.

It follows last year's historic qualification of three men in the event at the World Championships. In fact, prior to Knibb and Co, only one woman had represented Jamaica at the Olympics in the discus, Allison Randall, at the London 2012 Games.

Knibb's road has been a challenging one, having to recover both physically and mentally from her operation. But it has not dented her ambitions.

"I want to be an Olympic finalist," she stated unreservedly.

"Sure, I had to work extra hard to get back strong mentally and physically. It takes a lot of mental strength to overcome an injury like this, but overall it went well. I'm not worried about it," she offered, when quizzed about the procedure and its effect.

The Spanish Town native showed no signs of any setbacks throughout the season, as she romped to six wins in her nine competitions, with the others ending in top-three finishes.

It was during one of those 'losses' that she enjoyed her greatest victory - even if she was the last one to find out.

Competing at the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Championships in Eugene, Oregon in June, Knibb, who was desperate to win her first NCAA national title in the event, landed the implement at 61.44 metres.

It was a new national record, an automatic Olympic qualifying mark and ensured second place at the NCAA Championships.

"In that moment during the competition, I didn't even realise I got the personal best, the record and the Olympic standard, I was more concerned about winning the NCAA championships, which I didn't mange to do, but I am still happy that I got that mark. It's why I'm here," she smiled.

The achievement of her colleagues isn't lost on her either. They are joined together forever in Jamaican track and field history.

"I'm speechless, but it's definitely a good feeling to know that we are here doing something that has never been done, knowing that we are out here joining the great legacy of Jamaican track and field," Knibb beamed.

"Having other throwers here also helps because we can all relate to each other. We express ourselves and motivate each other to do the best we can do. We are facing it together," added Knibb.

The trio will compete on August 15 at the Olympic Stadium.