The medal-winning jump Tyrone Smith has so long hoped to produce at a major competition remains elusive.
Smith failed to make the cut in the Commonwealth Games long jump final at Carrara Stadium yesterday after fouling two of his three attempts. His second effort, a leap of 7.79 metres, was only good enough for tenth overall — two places outside the competitors who contested the final three jumps.
South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga broke the Games record with a huge jump of 8.41 to win gold. Henry Frayne, of Australia, placed third with a jump of 8.33, and Ruswahl Samaai, of South Africa, came third with a leap of 8.22.
“It’s pretty rough when you go in feeling good and having big expectations like I had this time,” said Smith, whose personal best is 8.34.
“I’m definitely disappointed not to make the top eight. I made the top eight in Glasgow [in 2014] and today I really did expect that.
“I tried to have a different approach to what I have in the past and was hoping it would pay off, but it didn’t exactly do that.”
The 34-year-old, who qualified for the final with a jump of 7.89, struggled to get his rhythm right and could not find any consistent form on the board.
“It’s tricky, it’s a game of centimetres, and both of my fouls were barely fouls,” he said. “I’m definitely gutted not to be able to represent well.
“The first foul really jazzed me up because it was a good foul. I thought, ‘I’ve got the jumps there, I just need to get on the board.
“I came through on the second jump and kind of dropped my left foot. In the third round I just thought, ‘Right, I’m just going to take it down the centre and make sure I don’t drop my leg and it will be a great jump’. I landed and thought, ‘OK, there we go’. I turned around and [saw the red flag] couldn’t believe it.”
Smith was still holding down a top-eight position at that juncture, but knew deep down that he had blown his chance.
“I was then holding on and hoping nobody passed me into eighth,” he said. “That’s the disadvantage of being early in the sequence. I basically had two rounds where people could pass me. I can’t hope for people not to do well. You have to do your job and I didn’t.”
The Houston-based athlete said he still hopes to represent Bermuda at his fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
“[Tokyo] is still on my mind,” he said. “I want to finish [my career] on a high. We’ve got the Bermuda Invitational Permit Meet in a month, the CAC Games [in July] the NACAC Championships [in August] and the Pan Am Games [in Lima next year].
“We’ve got the full round going again and I give myself one or two more opportunities to make this happen.
“I feel faster than I did last season when I hit the big PB [8.34]. It’s technical issues and that’s the hard part. Hopefully I can fix those things and make it right. I don’t see why big jumps can’t happen.”