Somethings you never lose. In my case it is something that was drummed into 31 years ago. How to get the perfect technique in the triple jump. Thanks to Murray Lee and a certain symbol of the mid 20th Century as reference I was always rather good at the event. Sadly at school being one of the best in Northern Ireland didn't necessarily mean that you made it to Northern Ireland school boy level, we were just too good, at least in my year.
However, free and off to University my light was less hidden my a bushel, though it was never my number one priority that was middle distance running and eventually steeplechase. It almost became something that I overlooked and just turned up a meets that had a contest and score top or close to top points in it. I probably should have concentrated on it when I younger, before I did too much damage to my foot, knees and back through running.
However, when one has time on your hands one has to fill the time. So a little bit of practice and the technique has come back. This week of course has been the first decent week of the year. So I was actually able to practice down at the new sports facility out the Old Belfast Road for the first time properly going full speed. I was delighted on Monday to match my old personal best of 16.82 metres on my second jump. Especially as that was three cm short of the B standard qualifying for London. So with my coach we watched back the tape of the technique to see how we could fine tune it.
There was about 10 cms to be gained at the board and a slightly higher and therefore longer step would get me nearer to the pit. So I went back to try again. It was long, but it was a foul. So a slight adjustment once more and I sailed out to 17.15. My coach started to go delirious, I wasn't sure why. I was merely getting ready to take part in some club meets, triple jump doesn't clash with my bowls as it takes place in the morning with long jump in the afternoons.
"Ok," I said, "I know it is a good jump. But that was only training."
"Yes," he said, "But you are just shy of Olympic Qualifying."
"I won't get there with just the B standard." I say.
"I don't mean the B, you were already close to that earlier. I mean the A."
I thought he was joking until I got home and looked it up, he was right.
Yesterday I had another session. It was a bit cooler and there was a bit of wind swirling around. I did jump further than 17.20 but was way over the board. So we think I have it in me, and I'm really looking forward to training again. Who knows I may end up in London in July.