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Jahisha Thomas qualifies for European Championships final!
Recently I wrote about how difficult it can be for me as a supposedly “top UK jumps coach” to make a living from of coaching. (See the post HERE)
Well, I was overwhelmed by the support received both in kind and financially.
I felt humbled
Receiving contributions via the PayPal link I set up from friends new and old, athletes, ex-athletes, parents of current and past jumpers I’ve coached and people from far away places who I didn’t know, was such a help.
And helping me travel to Germany certainly seems to have helped Jahisha.
Well, it’s not a revelation that having your personal coach with you at a championships is going to likely help.
I (we) know the specifics of the athlete, I (we) know what’s been going well in training and competition and what’s not. I (we) also have an ease of communication that a non personal coach would not likely have. It’s that long-term coach-athlete rapport.
It’s perhaps more important for the field enters to have this support as the coach can influence the proceedings very directly. Not so much for track athletes when they are hurtling past or hitting the pace lap after lap. No doubt though the friendly face of “your” coach will still be a help. However, as I said in my last blog post British Athletics can’t support all personal coaches to travel to championships - but perhaps there could be a fund that part helps???
Hopefully I’ve personally thanked all those who contributed to my journey. Many said in the process that the original post had struck a chord with them (I don’t claim that what I wrote was that original … many coaches feel and have felt the same way for a long time).
I guess what it did was articulate and circulate.
Maybe some progress will be made but many I communicated with felt disillusioned. They thought little had or will change.
After the athlete the coach is really second in the hierarchy of “athletics’ needs” - but that does not seem to be the case.
Athletics coaching as a profession is under-recognised and supported. There are few opportunities and the self-developed route - like the one I have taken - is perhaps the only option for those wanting to take the plunge. Perhaps I will write about my journey, successes and failures in another post should this be of use to others.
The qualifying round saw Jahisha in Pool B which also included Ivana Vuleta and Khaddi Sagnia. Pool A featured the German crowd’s darling Malaika Mihambo.
For me seeing these elite women up and close was a privilege. No doubt some of the video I took will find its way into a video on my YouTube channel.
I’m a student of the long jump and it’s great to see top class exponents in action.
However, I could not let my fan-boy attention be overawed by the presence of Olympic and World Champions - I had my own jumper to champion.
Jahisha continued to show the improvement and great form she’s been in. She’d come to Munich off the back of a marginally wind-aided jump of 6.63m (21.ms) in Hungary and it looked like she was rounding nicely into shape.
Round 1 saw her jump 6.38m and then running in with the jets nearly fully operational she flew out to 6.57m. This placed her 7th at the time. In round 3 with jets fully lit up, she had to cut her stride to hit the board but not quickly nor quite accurately enough as she fouled what was a very long jump. (Feedback given we hope that this jump can be replicated in the final - without the foul of course.)
However, with a few jumpers left to go it seemed comfortable that she’d make the final. And so it turned out to be, albeit with a couple of other women going ahead of her.
That 6.57m was good enough to make the final in 10th place.
Whatever happens now is a bonus, Jahisha has made the final of a major for the first time.
That event takes place on Thursday - a day after you read this post (assuming you’re reading it at the right time 17th Aug 22!).
Look out for more views from Munich here and through my other social media and that final … (and hopefully that includes a very long jump).
I’d like to finish with another thank-you to those who have supported me getting to Munich
To support Jahisha on social media go to Instagram
Jahisha also has a US based coach Clive Thomas. Go Team!