Dream come true for Ackelia Smith

ON THE back of an outstanding 2024 collegiate season Ackelia Smith continued her fine form punching her ticket to the upcoming Paris Olympics after being crowned the 2024 national long jump champion on day one of the JAAA/Puma National Junior and Senior Championships yesterday.

Smith remarkably only managed to secure one legitimate jump which was good enough for the title. Smith in her assessment of her performance shared that there’s still work needed to be done.

“I have to firstly work on my run up. I also have to focus on being mentally stable and just be able to compete to the best of my ability,” she stated.

The 22 year-old Smith started off proceedings with two foul jumps before managing to jump to a distance of 6.53 metres. The University of Texas jumper who will be making her first Olympic appearance explained that this achievement is a dream come true.

“I’ve been dreaming about this. The road getting there might not have been the smoothest but I’m excited. To be a first time Olympian, I’m proud of that,” Smith added.

The 2023 World Athletics Championships and 2022 Commonwealth Games finalist who has a personal best of 7.08m, explained that her experiences on the collegiate circuit have helped her to mature and become a better jumper.

“I became a little bit more confident in my ability to jump and over the years I’ve seen big improvement. You just have to be mentally ready to do extra work,” she said.

Chanice Porter was second in the event with 6.49m while Tissana Hickling was third with a mark of 6.36m.

orane.buchanan@gleanerjm.com

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