Kerr - Long Jumping into the Future

"This has boosted my confidence so much. I just really want to see where else this will take me." Those are the words of Kavian Kerr, who won Jamaica's second straight long jump bronze medal at last month's World Under 20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya. Kerr will ride the wave of confidence to a college scholarship at Kansas State University. 

KerrAt Champs, representing St Jago High School, he was chasing the gold medal when the final round began and in Nairobi, his back was against the wall when the third round started. He responded with a gritty personal best mark of 7.90 metres. "I had to get that jump early because I was at 13th place when I got that jump so if I didn't do it then, I wouldn't have been able to make it to top 8", he said on August 21 of a mark that eventually gave him third place. 

He was overjoyed to match the bronze medal performance by Wayne Pinnock at the last World Under 20 Championships. "Words can't even explain how I feel about getting a medal wearing the national gears is a very, very, very important, a very good achievement but to wear the national gears and to compete at the World Juniors and to come third, it's a surreal thing for me", beamed the NACAC Under 20 champion after his endeavours in the friendly high altitude were over.

His coach Marlon Gayle reckons the repeat bronze is a sign that Jamaica is advancing in the horizontal jumps. "It looks good for the future based on the level of talent that has moved on to colleges and so forth in the past five years. We have seen quite a few of these youngsters moving up having outstanding performances and the good thing also is that it is across several different schools", Gayle noted with particular reference to the likes of Cornwall College graduate Odaine Lewis and the Kingston College nurtured trio of Pinnock, Shaquille Lowe and Tokyo Olympian Carey McLeod. 

"It shows that there is a new crop of youngsters who are taking over and certainly making a good transition. I think with time, with the competition being a bit stiffer, so to speak, it is going to really raise the bar", he added.  

Led by 2019 World Champion Tajay Gayle, Jamaica has 8 active jumpers with personal bests above 8 metres. They are Gayle at 8.69, McLeod at 8.34, Damar Forbes at 8.29, Shakwan Coke, 8.16, Ramone Bailey 8.13, Lewis, 8.09, Pinnock, 8.08 and Ryan Brown, 8.04 metres.


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