Twins up first for The Bahamas; Jones looking to strike

DOHA, Qatar – It was eight years ago when they finished first and third in the world at the world youth championships. Now, the jumping twins are trying to make their mark on the senior level.

Latario and Lathone Collie-Minns will be first up for The Bahamas, competing in the qualifying rounds of the men’s triple jump on Friday, as the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships gets underway here.

Making the long trek from The Bahamas to Doha from Monday to Wednesday, the twins said they are ready to compete and turn in strong performances for The Bahamas.

The qualifying rounds of the men’s triple jump are set for 7:25 p.m. local time on Friday, 12:35 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) back in The Bahamas. Both qualified at local meets this year – Lathone at the 12th Diana Lynn Thompson Roadrunners Track and Field Meet in February, and Latario at the 12th Fritz Grant Track and Field Classic in May.

They are looking to shine brightest on the world championships stage.

“I had a few injuries over the past couple years but I feel pretty confident right now – just looking to go out there and have a big performance on opening day and get The Bahamas started on a positive note,” said Latario on Wednesday. “I want to be able to make the finals, and once I do that, just pray to God that I would be able to get a medal. It will be good for me and Lathone to push each other.”

A jump of 17.10 meters (m) – 56’ 1-1/4”, or being among the top 12, would get a jumper into the final, set for Sunday evening here in Doha. On Friday, Latario will be the first jumper in Group A, and Lathone is the eighth jumper in Group B. A total of 33 jumpers are competing.

Latario comes into the global meet with a personal best leap of 17.18m (56’ 4-1/2”) and a season’s best jump of 17.04m (55’ 11”). Lathone has never jumped 17m (55’ 9-1/4”), but got as close as an athlete could possibly get without getting there earlier this year, turning in a leap of 16.99m (55’ 9”) at the Diana Lynn Classic.

“I feel pretty good. This is my first world championships and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’ve been training hard all year and I’m in the best shape of my life,” said Lathone. “For the first time in a while, I feel completely healthy, and having Latario there with me will be a big push. This is my first trip to the world championships, but his second one so he knows what to expect. I’m looking forward to some good performances from us.”

Lathone said his main goal is to get into the final and hopefully qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

“Hopefully, we could both go out there and have strong performances for The Bahamas and get into the final. Once in the final, we could just give it our all and go after medals for Team Bahamas. That would be a great way to get the team started,” said Lathone.

Latario and Lathone Collie-Minns had tremendous success as junior athletes competing for The Bahamas, but were so far unable to duplicate that success on the senior level. Latario finished 23rd overall at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China, with a modest leap of 16.21m (53’ 2-1/4”). Lathone failed to qualify for that global meet. Injuries kept both of them out of the 2017 World Championships in London, England.

Now at 25, they’re looking to rediscover the talent that they displayed at the junior level.

“We’re both determined and we both train very hard,” said Lathone. “Now, we’re looking for success on the senior stage level. It’s not going to be easy because there are a lot of great athletes out there but we’re confident in our abilities. We’ve been feeding off each other for our entire careers, and we’ll be looking to do the same thing here in Doha. I feed off his energy and he feeds off mine. That’s how it goes. Hopefully, that will work in our favor on Friday.”

The next athlete in competition for The Bahamas will be Grand Bahamian Terrance Jones, the baby of the team at just 16-years-old, in the men’s 200m. He will compete in the heats of the men’s 200m at 8:05 p.m. on Sunday evening, 1:05 p.m. in The Bahamas.

Jones ran a personal best junior national record time of 20.43 seconds at the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations’ (BAAA) Senior National Championships in Freeport, Grand Bahama, in July. The qualifying time for the world championships was 20.40 seconds, but Jones received a special invitation to compete based on world ranking points and athlete quota for that event. He said he is extremely excited.

“I just feel blessed to have this opportunity to come here and display my talent,” he said. “I feel privileged to be able to run that fast (20.43 seconds). I’m just taking it in stride and trying to get better each and every day.”

Jones’ winning time at the nationals shattered Steven Gardiner’s former junior national record of 20.66 seconds that he set at the CARIFTA Trials five years ago.

Coincidentally, Gardiner is here in Doha as well, looking to provide guidance and leadership for young athletes such as Jones while going after global glory as well. Gardiner is set to compete in the men’s 400m, going into that event as the third fastest quarter-miler in the world this year with his season’s best time of 44.14 seconds at the 2019 Kamila Skolimowska Memorial at Stadion Śląski in Chorzów, Poland, two weekends ago. Gardiner also qualified in the 200m, but will apparently skip that event here in Doha.

Also qualifying to compete for The Bahamas are Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the women’s 200 and 400m, Tynia Gaither in the women’s 100 and 200m, Anthonique Strachan in the women’s 200m, Pedrya Seymour in the women’s 100m hurdles, Alonzo Russell in the men’s 400m, Donald Thomas in the men’s high jump and Samson Colebrook in the men’s 100m. Colebrook will not travel, opting to focus on his senior year at Purdue University and next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games. Also, Seymour will also not travel, choosing to skip the biennial meet as a result of a recurring injury that bothered her in the latter part of the season.

As for Jones, he is tied as the fastest youth athlete in the world in the 200m this year with that 20.43 seconds clocking in Freeport.

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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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