Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Coach Riley surprised by Bailey's big leap

Published:Monday | July 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Ramone Bailey

When Ramone Bailey bounded to a long jump personal best of 8.16m at last month's JAAA National Senior Athletics Championships, he surprised everybody, including his coach, David Riley. The mark, which punched Bailey's ticket to the World Championships in London, came one year early as both coach and athlete expected improvements in 2018. Riley says that the training plan for Bailey has exceeded expectations.

"As a coach, you sit down and you devise a plan and sometimes the plan works," said Riley after the Nationals, "but when the plan exceeds what you had projected, that's an even greater feeling."

Coached by Riley at Wolmer's Boys School for which he won the long jump at Boys and Girls' Championships, Bailey spent four years at Texas Christian University and then took the year off before reuniting with his high school coach, who now plies his trade at Excelsior High School. "Ramone came back from the US last August," Riley shared, "and he was about 20lb overweight and had not been active doing any training for about a year."




Candidly, Riley admits to not having had any plans in place for Bailey in 2017 after the Nationals. "I told him after the meet, 'I didn't even have a programme for you after this meet", he said smiling.

"We were just looking at this year," Riley said, "losing some of the weight, learning to jump again, and just really using that as the foundation for next year." He believes that continued study of the event has led to Bailey reaching past the World Championships qualifying mark of 8.15m at the right time. "We've learnt so much that's specific to jumping and the components," he enthused.

The 8.16 metre National winning leap places Bailey behind James Beckford, Alain Bailey, Damar Forbes, and Ron Chambers on the all-time Jamaica performance list.