Sat | May 27, 2017

Porter going pro

Published:Sunday | January 29, 2017 | 1:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Chanice Porter

National long jump champion Chanice Porter is going pro. Now out of eligibility at the University of Georgia, the baby-faced Porter is looking to the future, starting with the 2017 World Championships in London.

Porter is also very happy for her former Manchester High School teammate, the newly minted double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson.

Speaking from her base in Athens, Georgia, Porter said: "At this point, I'm going professional," with great anticipation in her voice. "That's what I'm doing", she continued, "I'm still working out with my college coach, so I'm still based in Athens." That's a reference to Petros Kyprianou, who coached her to a dramatic last-round NCAA long jump victory last year.

She has very high regard for his skills.

"Last year was my first year with him," she recounted during an interview on January 27, "so he has done some great things." American Keturah Orji, Kyrprianou's other NCAA champion, triple jumped all the way to fourth place in the Olympics.

After winning three gold medals and setting three still-standing records at Boys and Girls' Championships, Porter went to Georgia on a sports scholarship, but was bedevilled with injury. "My freshman year, coming out of high school, I had a bone spur in my ankle so I did a surgery and took it out, but it left a space in my ankle ,so the friction from the space caused it to hurt a lot. We've been treating it, but it still hurts.

"So it kinda limits the amount of jumps I can do," she detailed, "and the amount of competition I can do also." With this in mind, she is skipping the 2017 indoor season.

PERSONAL BEST

Last year, she jumped 6.52 metres to take third place for Georgia at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Despite competing sparingly, she produced a personal best of 6.67 metres to win with the very last jump of her collegiate career at the NCAA Outdoors. That distance brought her within touching distance of the Olympic-qualifying standard of 6.70.|

The 2015 and 2016 Jamaican long jump champion is philosophical about not reaching Rio.

"Well, for me, it was just not my timing," she said. "I think there are more years to come so I'm just looking forward to the next one. Hopefully, with this year, I'll be on the World Championship team."

Even though she missed the Olympics, she took great joy in the success of her former high school track team colleague, Thompson.

"She has really gone a long way," she remembered of their days together at Manchester High. "I remember one year in high school, she didn't get to go to Champs", Porter said. "Elaine has come a far way, I must say", she concluded.

Porter has her mind set on emulating the likes of Chelsea Hammond and Elva Goulbourne, the last two Jamaicans to jump in Olympic finals.

She has also put an end to her aspirations in the high jump, where she has the Champs record and a World Youth bronze medal. Even though she cleared a personal best of 1.88 metres last year, she wistfully explained: "In high jump, it's either I'm having a good day or a bad day, and most of the time it's a bad day, so my coach just called it quits for me."

The soon-to-be professional long jumper is completing the second half of a double degree in financing planning and consumer economics and expects to graduate in May.