Safo is jumping further
A "POSTURE" adjustment helped Elliot Safo reach his season's aim of the long jump qualifying mark for the World Junior Championships.
The Trinity School pupil explained that adjustment helped him to leap 7.65 metres at the Bedford International Games last weekend, surpassing his aim by 10cm and setting an age-group record for Croydon Harriers.
"This competition was the first this year that I had approached the board in the correct posture," he said.
"My coach and I had been working on this during the week, because he identified that this was the reason I was only jumping 7.40s."
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He was third in the competition and the result left him second in the U20 UK rankings, to his training partner Ollie Newport, from Oxted.
Safo also leapt 7.63 and 7.41 – the latter from behind the board – and he added: "I was very pleased that I was able to jump over 7.60 twice as this shows it wasn't a one-off.
"The landing on the 7.65 wasn't how it should be, so that is something I will be working on."
The surprise big leap by Newport, a year younger, a week earlier in Birmingham, spurred him.
"Having Ollie jump 7.70 made me very motivated," he admitted. "I jumped a PB of 7.51 in that competition after he had jumped that, purely on adrenaline."
Newport was not the one of the two who was expected to gain the qualifying standard.
"I admit I was surprised to see him jump that far," said Safo.
"Our coach has been saying that we can both jump a lot further but I wasn't expecting a 50cm improvement to his PB before that competition.
A friendly rivalry seems to be helping them both.
"It is definitely helping us," Safo reflected. "We are not really trying to compete against each other, but by training together we are pulling each other upwards.
"However, in competitions, he is just another person to beat."
Safo will now be "resting" much of this week to ensure he turns up "injury-free" for this weekend's U20s Championships, which double as Britain's world junior trials, back at Bedford.
"My aim for this competition is to secure my place for the World Junior Championships," he said "This means coming in the top three or jumping over 7.55m. If I turn up healthy then I should be able to do this."
The possibility of appearing at the Olympic trials in Birmingham a week later also beckons.