Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Pinnock could be next - Wignall

Published:Friday | May 4, 2018 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/ Gleaner Writer
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Wayne Pinnock of Kingston College could be Jamaica's next world-class long jumper. That is the word from 1997 World Championships finalist Maurice Wignall. Speaking about the student-athlete who broke his 24-year-old Penn Relays long jump record last weekend, Wignall said he was very impressed with the youngster's performance.

Pinnock, the ISSA/Grace-Kennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships (Champs) and Carifta Games winner, produced a first-round jump of 7.88m to replace Wignall as the Penn Relays record holder. "I think he has a bright future," Wignall said. "If I did that 24 years ago, we can just imagine what can happen for him now."

Wignall praised Pinnock for launching more than just one jump past the record he set at 7.69m in 1994 as a schoolboy at Calabar High School. Pinnock also had jumps measured at 7.72m in the second round and a wind-assisted 7.75m in the third round. He added a fourth-round effort of 7.54m before passing his last two jumps.

"That's very commendable on his part", Wignall praised.

Pinnock's fine season also includes marks of 7.99m and 7.77m at the GC Foster Classic and Champs, respectively.

Wignall, who also won an NCAA indoor long jump title during his days at George Mason University, hopes this event will be a Jamaican staple in the years to come. "We haven't had a real presence, a real consistent presence since James Beckford," he recalled, with reference to Olympic and World Champion-ship medal winner Beckford. Wignall cited Olympic finalist Damar Forbes and 2018 Commonwealth Games finalist Tajay Gayle but said, "we need some more persons so that we can have a bigger presence for Jamaica. So I think if Wayne would concentrate on that, he could be the next one, but you never know because his hurdles could be quite good, as well."

Pinnock finished sixth in the Class 1 110m hurdles at Champs.

Now a coach, Wignall explained the synergies between hurdling and the long jump. "There are similarities in the technique, the take-off techni-que, and also the focus staying tall," he said. "I think these technical events, they have some type of appeal for athletes and spectators, and if you are inclined to do any one, you want to do both," he said.

It is a combination the 2006 Commonwealth Games 110m hurdles champion would recommend to athletes he coaches. "They complement each other, so you can only be better for it," he asserted.

Wignall noted that the long jump and the 110m hurdles typically clash on the programmes of major champion-ships. Any one doing that double at the 2018 World Under-20 Championships will face long jump qualifying on July 10, hurdles heats and semis and the long jump final all on July 11, and the hurdles final on July 12.