Mon | Dec 17, 2018

Unfinished business - Long Jumper Ramone Bailey heads to London to redeem self

Published:Monday | July 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

Two-time Jamaica long jump champion Ramone Bailey is looking forward to this weekend's Athletics World Cup. According to his Eagles Track Club coach David Riley, that is because it takes him back to London, where he has unfinished business from last year's World Championships.

Chilly London weather strapped Bailey to the back of the field in qualifying last year and Riley assessed: "It's good for him going back to London, almost to finish what he didn't get to finish at the World Championships."

The former Wolmers' Boys School and Texas Christian University athlete made a promising start, but the chill hamstrung his later efforts. "He was in great shape at that time but the conditions...," Riley rued. "The temperature dropped so hard and fast that he didn't really get to jump in the second and third round."

Recalling the circumstances, the coach said, "his opening jump at the World Championships was the furthest he's ever opened in a competition, but he just was unable to stay warm."

That first jump was measured at 7.76m, with his other two efforts taped at 7.51m and 7.49m.

By contrast, Bailey has won back-to-back Jamaican titles on the very last jump. He leapt to a personal best of 8.16m to snatch the win in 2017 and gathered himself to cover 8.10m to repeat last month. Though the Eagles Track Club coach would prefer the big jumps to come earlier, he deduced: "It also confirms the training methods that we use, and that we can get better, and we can respond if a competitor passes us."

When Bailey strode to the top of the runway for his last jump, he trailed Commonwealth Games fourth place finisher Tajay Gayle. The target was Gayle's leading mark of 8.08m. The victory - by just 2cm - was one of the highlights of the National Senior Championships.

"I wouldn't want to wait for the last jump to qualify, but then it's also because of how I coach the event," Riley explained. "I make sure that after four, five rounds of jumping, we can still be at our best," he concluded.