Twins now looking ahead to next year’s Olympics

DOHA, Qatar – After a disappointing finish in the men’s triple jump competition at the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships here in Doha, Qatar, the Bahamian jumping twins now shift their attention toward next year’s Olympic Games. They would have to jump even farther in qualification than what they did for the world championships, however.

The qualifying standard for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, is 17.14 meters (m) – 56’ 2-3/4”. It’s one of the highest qualifying marks for the men’s triple jump in history.

The Collie-Minns twins know that they have their work cut out for them – Latario has jumped that distance just once and Lathone has never cracked 17m (55’ 9-1/4”). They finished 28th and 30th overall at the Khalifa International Stadium on Friday, leaping 16.26m (53’ 4-1/4”) and 15.89m (52’ 1-3/4”), respectively.

Both were well short of the top 12 or automatic qualifying distance of 17.10m (56’ 1-1/4”).

“We know that it is going to be a task but we’re prepared to put in the work,” said Latario. “I believe it’s attainable. I’ve jumped that before, and Lathone is close, so with some hard training, I believe we could get there.”

Latario has a personal best leap of 17.18m (56’ 4-1/2”) but that was done during the collegiate season four years ago. He has jumped 17.04m (55’ 11”) this year. Lathone had a personal best leap of 16.99m (55’ 9”), done at the 12th Diana Lynn Thompson Roadrunners Track and Field Meet in February.

Both intend to shut their seasons down and focus on qualifying for the Olympics next year.

“Latario is right there so I’m confident that he will get it. I have a little further to go, but once I put in the work, I feel like I could get there too,” said Lathone. “This isn’t going to be easy. We have until June to get there so we just have to make sure we continue to progress and remain healthy. Once we do that, I feel like we will be able to qualify.”

The Bahamian triple jumping twins, now 25, said they have both learned from their experiences and simply want to get back on the world stage. Latario was competing in his second world championships, having finished 23rd overall at the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, with a best leap of 16.21m (53’ 2-1/4”). Latario also competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for The Bahamas, but failed to record a mark, scratching all three of his jumps. This year’s world championships was the first outdoor global meet for Lathone. He summed it up as a learning experience.

Both Latario and Lathone had tremendous success as junior athletes competing for The Bahamas, going as high as gold and bronze respectively at the 2011 IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Lille, France, but they haven’t duplicated that success on the senior level.

Be that as it may, their focus is now on next year’s Olympic Games.

The qualifying period for next year’s Olympic Games ends on June 29, 2020, and the games itself are set for July 24 to August 9, in Tokyo, Japan.

Only two Bahamians have ever jumped consistently over 17m in the men’s triple jump. They are national record older ‘Superman’ Leevan Sands and Frank Rutherford.

Latario and Lathone will have ample opportunities to get the qualifying mark over the next nine months. Whether or not they achieve that, remains to be seen. 

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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