Sun | Sep 25, 2016

Great rivals, but close friends

Published:Wednesday | February 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Anthony Foster, Gleaner Writer

The Calabar High School pair of Traves Smikle and Chad Wright, the country's best junior discus throwers, are best of friends despite their hot rivalry.

Wright, who hurled the discus 58.88 metres on his third attempt to break the national junior mark at the UWI Invitational track meet at the National Stadium on Saturday, saw his teammate Smikle erase the mark minutes afterwards with a massive heave of 59.21m.

Both marks bettered the previous national junior mark of 57.18m, which was set by Smikle when he won the silver medal at the junior Pan Am Games last year.

Smikle claimed Jamaica's first-ever discus medal at a world-level championships, when he won the discus bronze medal at the sixth IAAF World Youth Champion-ships in Bressanone, Italy, last year.

Missing steel tape

However, when Wright had made his record-breaking throw at the UWI Invitational on Saturday, the official measuring instrument - the steel tape - was not on hand.

This situation was quickly rectified as the organisers made sure the steel tape was on hand when Smikle, who is a more established thrower, competed 15 minutes later and hurled the discus 59.21 metres to claim ownership of the national junior mark.

Not unhappy

Wright, though, was in no way unhappy despite losing his national record, especially since his close friend broke it.

"He is not only my friend but teammate, my pal ... we are still friends," said Wright, when asked how it felt losing his record to his teammate minutes after it was established.

Wright, while adding that the competition was 'good', believes 'it could be better, but some other guys we were supposed to compete with were not Under-20, so it wasn't as hot as I thought it would be".

Smikle, in the meantime, said: "It feels good to be the new record holder.

"I have to give God thanks for everything he has done because without him I could not achieve that mark," he added.

Smikle also recognised the effort of his teammate Wright and the other competitors, saying, without them "the competition would not be what it is today".