Jump to it: Tyrone Smith and Arantxa King are flanked by youngsters taking part in the Jump Camp at the National Sports Centre yesterday. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Jump to it: Tyrone Smith and Arantxa King are flanked by youngsters taking part in the Jump Camp at the National Sports Centre yesterday. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
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It may be nine months away — but the Commonwealth Games looms large for two of Bermuda’s leading athletes.

Long jumpers Tyrone Smith, 29, and Arantxa King, 23, are currently on the island holding a Jump Camp at the National Sports Centre as they bid to inspire the next generation.

For King it’s a chance to ‘connect with the youth’ and to pass on knowledge. 

Lurking at the back of both athletes’ minds, though, is next season, with Fall training around the corner, the World Indoor Championships, if they qualify, in March in Poland and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July.

Smith, who missed out on the World Championship final by just two centimetres this year in Moscow, is full of belief but knows it’s going to be tough.

He told the Bermuda Sun: “The Commonwealth isn’t as strong in certain events as others — but men’s long jump is incredibly strong. 

“The Olympic gold medallist [Greg Rutherford] will be there and the Olympic silver medallist [Mitchell Watt] too… basically of the top 20 jumpers in the world, 10-15 are Commonwealth athletes.

“It’s not a step down at all in the men’s long jump! 

“But I’m really excited and really want to get the medal because it means a lot in my event. 

“In my eyes I know I am capable of jumping as far as them — I just haven’t been able to do it in a major competition.”

Smith, based in Houston, Texas, added: “For me it’s a gold medal — that is what I want for sure. It’s not going to be easy at all. 

“It’s probably going to take something in the neighbourhood of 8m 35cm, 8.40 to win that.

“But I honestly think I am capable of that — my goal for this year is to jump over 8.35 and that’s what we’re working on.”

For Kentucky-based King, a medal is the target but she knows she is on a steep learning curve after just one full season as a professional out of college.

She said: “There was a lot of ups and downs and a lot of things that I now know not to do next year.

“I didn’t compete as much and I now know that was my biggest downfall, not being able to get to as many competitions.

“My development went well but I was just unable to put it together. That’s just part of the learning curve.

“I improved a lot in the technical areas — I was almost like a different jumper just because I could devote a lot more time to it. 

“Sometimes when you change a lot of things you have to take a step back to take a step forward.”