Smith repeats last-ditch heroics, hopes for better final
IT SEEMS Ackelia Smith has a flair for the dramatic.
Twelve months after needing a big jump on her final attempt to qualify for her first World Athletics Championship triple jump final in her Oregon debut, she repeated the same feat in Budapest, producing big when it mattered, this time to book a spot in her first long jump World Championship final.
Smith’s 6.78m attempt in round three of qualifying yesterday shot her up to second in her qualifying group and fourth overall, securing her place in today’s final at 9:55 a.m.
Smith was struggling with two foul attempts leading up to the make-or-break final round.
While Smith was able to meet the moment, she hopes that it doesn’t become a habit as she battles for her first senior medal
“I think I just like making my coach (Edrick Foreal) sweat a little. I am going to try and work on it. I don’t want the same experience for the final. So I will try and go and execute on the first jump (in the final). If I don’t get it on the first one, then I will try to get it on the second one,” Smith said.
Even though she kept Jamaica in suspense, it is pressure that she is used to after her experience in Oregon when she achieved a lifetime best to make that final.
“I’ve gotten used to the third jumps. So I just don’t sweat it too much and just jump. I wasn’t that nervous,” Smith said.
“I think I just got a little bit cold after the warm-up and for the second one, I was over the board by a little. On the third one, I knew I had to get it right.”
While American Tara Davis Woodhall’s 6.87 metres have her going into the final with the longest jump, Smith still has the world-leading mark of 7.08.
With the experience gained from last year’s final, Smith is more confident and poised. She knows she can jump further and believes she could also make it to the triple jump final, completing a famous double achievement for Jamaica.
“I love both of them equally and I would be so honoured if I can make the final and medal in both. This year I feel a little bit more confident coming in having the experience last year. That I have to be thankful for.”