Sat | Oct 23, 2021

Mullings backed to deliver discus gold

Published:Thursday | August 19, 2021 | 12:08 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Ralford Mullings competing in the under-20 boys’ discus throw event at the National Junior Championships at the National Stadium on Friday, June 25.
Ralford Mullings competing in the under-20 boys’ discus throw event at the National Junior Championships at the National Stadium on Friday, June 25.
National discus thrower Chad Wright.
National discus thrower Chad Wright.
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Michael Vassell, the godfather of the local throws movement, and Tokyo Olympics finalist Chad Wright have both picked discus prospect Ralford Mullings to do well at the World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, this week. In fact, Vassell and...

Michael Vassell, the godfather of the local throws movement, and Tokyo Olympics finalist Chad Wright have both picked discus prospect Ralford Mullings to do well at the World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, this week. In fact, Vassell and Wright think Mullings has a chance to win.

Mullings, the winner at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships and the Corporate Area Champs for Kingston College, threatened Traves Smikle’s national junior record of 66.88m with a personal best distance of 66.61m.

In Nairobi, he will enter the circle for the qualifying round on Saturday. By then, he hopes to be ready for the cool temperatures in Kenya.

“My practice has been fairly decent due to the fact it has been surprisingly cold in Kenya,” Mullings said. “It’s going to take a little time to adjust to the weather, but by later this week, I’ll be attuned and ready for competition.”

His main competition in the final is Lithuania’s Alekna, son of two-time Olympic champion Virgilijus Alekna.

“I’m definitely looking forward to competing with the world number one, Mykolas Alekna, also second all-time, because I tend to compete at my best when my back is against the wall,” Mullings said. “They say pressure makes diamonds, so hopefully, on the day [of the final], which is Sunday, I’ll get it right.”

Alekna has thrown the disc 69.77m and is the only thrower with marks longer than the young Jamaican.

The world under-20 record is 70.13 metres.

But Wright thinks Mullings can join Fedrick Dacres and Kai Chang as Jamaican champions in the event.

“Oh, he has a really great chance. I’m backing him to win and to be honest, he just needs to execute. Once he executes, he will win,” Wright said earlier this week.

COACH’S INSTRUCTION

Vassell, who tutored Wright to ninth in the recent Olympic Games, agrees and said, “Once he follows his coach’s instructions and he executes the plan [he could win], because he’s going up against Virgilijus Alekna’s son, who has his genes from his father and who has been excellent all year. But, again, it’s what you do on the day.” Mullings is coached at Kingston College (KC) by Caniggia Raynor, the Jamaican record holder in the hammer, and himself a former KC thrower.

“Alekna has been doing well, but I don’t think he has ever come against any real competition, so it should be interesting,” Vassell said. “But I have Ralford to win because I know he will have to throw maybe a national junior record to win. But he has it in him, and he’s poised to do that.”

The only other boy to break the 65m threshold this year is Germany’s Mika Sosna. His best is 65.81m.

sports@gleanerjm.com