Gayle’s charge to Pinnock

July 13, 2022
Wayne Pinnock
Wayne Pinnock
Tajay Gayle
Tajay Gayle

EUGENE, Oregon:

If 2019 World long jump champion Tajay Gayle is unable to defend his title at the World Athletics Championships, he will look to national champion Wayne Pinnock to fly the Jamaican colours high in the event.

But while Gayle's World Championship debut was different from what Pinnock will encounter, Gayle hopes that 2022 national champion will focus on himself.

"The only thing that I can say to him is 'do your best'," Gayle told STAR Sports. "Do not worry about the competition," he added.

Pinnock will encounter an elite level of talent at his first World Championships with jumpers far better than what he is accustomed to at the college level. In 2019 Gayle also met some very good long jumpers including then world leader Juan Miguel Echevarria of Cuba and 2016 Olympic champion Jeff Henderson of the United States.

While Pinnock may be back at Hayward Field, the site of his NCAA title win on June 8, Gayle says that the competition will be far stronger now.

"I cannot give an opinion based on someone's mindset because I am different. For me, however, I had been competing with those guys on the Diamond League series from March straight up to the World Championships," Gayle said.

Gayle recalled the experience of another debutant Carey McLeod who made his senior team debut at last year's Olympics. McLeod finished 11th in the first round and did not qualify for the final.

"I heard that he came to the Olympics two days or a day before the event so maybe that was a factor," Gayle said.

It is for that reason that Gayle said that it is important for Pinnock to focus on his own execution as he leaps into the unknown.

"You might go there thinking that this is the biggest event of your life which maybe it is. (But) thinking about it brings more pressure. So you have to just set out to do your best," Gayle said.

Pinnock's personal best, 8.14m, which he set on June 25 to win the national title is the 18th best jump in the world in 2022. The men's long jump qualification round is set for this Friday at 8 p.m. Jamaica time.

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