Sat | Aug 13, 2022

Gayle in race against time to be fit for Eugene

Published:Tuesday | June 28, 2022 | 12:08 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Long jumper Tajay Gayle (centre) is carried away by medical staff after he sustained an injury during the men’s long jump competition on day three of the  JAAA National Senior and Junior Championships at the National Stadium last Saturday.
Long jumper Tajay Gayle (centre) is carried away by medical staff after he sustained an injury during the men’s long jump competition on day three of the JAAA National Senior and Junior Championships at the National Stadium last Saturday.
Coach Paul Francis
Coach Paul Francis
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MVP Track Club head coach Paul Francis says that he is hopeful that reigning World long jump champion Tajay Gayle will be fit in time to defend his title at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, next month.

Gayle suffered an injury at the JAAA National Senior and Junior Championships during the men’s long jump final on Saturday. Gayle landed awkwardly during his fifth attempt and couldn’t continue the competition, finishing in second place with a season’s best 7.97m. University of Tennessee’s’s Wayne Pinnock won the title with a jump of 8.14m on his first attempt.

While Francis did not disclose the extent of Gayle’s injury, he said that the long jumper’s treatment process has already started and he is optimistic about his recovery with three weeks to go until the championships.

“We have been working assiduously. His treatment has begun, and as we get a bit closer, we will have a clear view of what his situation is. But we are hopeful at this time,” Francis told The Gleaner.

Gayle had injury problems last year, suffering a knee injury in the first round of the long jump at the Tokyo Olympics. Despite making it to the final, he would finish in 11th place. Earlier this season he had stressed the importance of clearing the mental barrier that the knee injury in Tokyo caused with the hope of getting back to his best.

“Since the Olympics, I haven’t been at my best. But based on training, I am 90 per cent there,” Gayle said on April 4.

Gayle has a bye into Oregon as the defending World champion. While he faces a short time window to recover and prepare for the championships, Francis maintains a positive outlook on his chances.

“Of course, we will always do our very best to ensure all our athletes are fit and ready to compete,” Francis said.

Gayle is the national record holder for the long jump with 8.69m set in Doha, Qatar, September 28, 2019.