Dacres, Smikle impress at Big Shot Throwers Meet

Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Jamaican Olympians Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle put on quite a show in the men's discus final at the 15th staging of the Big Shot Throwers Meet at the Excelsior High school in Kingston, Jamaica yesterday to the delight of the hundreds of spectators who were on hand to witness it.

Dacres threw a world-leading 68.08m on his penultimate attempt to eclipse his friend and training partner, Smikle, who threw a personal best of 67.72m, also on his penultimate throw.

Smikle opened with a throw of 65.87m to lead Dacres, who opened with 63.28m, before Dacres took over first place in the eight-man competition on his third effort with a throw of 67.31m, compared to Smikle's effort of 66.52m.

With the orders reversed after the first three throws, Smikle, who was in second place in the competition, took over the lead on his fifth throw with his personal best of 67.72m, but his joy would last as long as it took the officials to measure the next throw by Dacres, who took his season's best over the 68m mark as the enthralled crowd clapped continuously in appreciation of the display by the two men.

Smikle was able to get the discus over the 65m mark twice, while Dacres cleared that distance on four of his five legal attempts. Both men fouled on their final attempts, but that mattered very little to the spectators, who had been treated to possibly the best discus throwing event on the school campus.

Chad Wright, who had a best throw of 61.26m on his fifth attempt, finished third in the event.

Dacres was not surprised by the level of competition he faced from his training partner.

“I wasn't really surprised at what Traves did today. He is my training partner, so I know what he has. It was a really good competition, I loved it. It really pumped me up. “I never started well, but Traves throwing really well lifted my spirits. Overall it was a good day.”

Smikle went through a bad patch after he was suspended for a drug violation in 2013. He has been coming back to form since then and appears to be on the right track once more.

“I think we have transcended being friends, we are more like brothers than anything else, I know everything about him and what he went through and I was there with him. He should have been here (in terms of performance) from last year, but I am thankful that he is here now, it should be an interesting season,” said Jamaica's national discus champion.

Dacres agrees that throwing in Jamaica is in need of special attention.

“Yeah, yeah, 68/67 in Jamaica is something awesome, but it will be exciting to see what will happen in the months to come.”

The major outdoor event for Jamaica's senior track and field athletes this year is the Commonwealth Games and Dacres is hoping to be a part of the contingent.

“Well, yeah, I would like to go to the Commonwealth Games, no problem with that, it's all about being selected. We will see how that goes.”

“Coming out here and throwing the way I did, speaks well to the training. And Fedrick Dacres and Basil Bingham, they are good partners, training with them. It's just a fun feeling coming out here and trying to complete to the best of my abilities and trying to get a decent mark.

“My PB (personal best) performance was 67.12m set back in 2012; six years after, to finally get over that hump I am very happy, and it was coupled with a good series most throws over 65, so I am grateful,” he said.

“It's a mental boost, the throwing event is not an easy event and you have to be mentally tough, you have to be ready to fire from the first throw and I lost that fire a little. But with proper mental training, I continue to push myself even though sometimes it may seem like I'm not doing what I want to do, but overall it's a mental game. I have good teammates, we push each other in the gym and in the ring, even for other small matters and I love them but we just have to work hard.”

Smikle's other training partner Basil Bingham had a best of 59.00m on the day which took away some of the gloss from the former Boys' Champs discus champion.

“I am very sad that Basil didn't get over the 60, he has the potential, but hopefully as time progresses we can help him to get there.”

Meet Director Michael Vassell was very happy at the display put on by the star attractions of the meet.

“Let me tell you something, Traves (Smikle) and Fedrick Dacres have always been around since school days and I think this is the atmosphere for them to throw, because it brings out the best in the throwers. Today was a really good day and I really appreciate them coming and doing what they did,” said the delighted meet organiser and founder of Throwers R Us.

— Dwayne Richards

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