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Leevan Sands on the ‘road to recovery’

National record holder disappointed to be missing world championships
  • Injured Bahamian triple jumper Leevan Sands said it won’t be easy watching this year’s world championships in Moscow, Russia. He had previously competed in every world championships team since 2003. AP

KELSIE JOHNSON
Guardian Sports Reporter
kelsie@nasguard.com

Published: Jul 26, 2013

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Having to sit and watch the International Association of Athletic Federation’s (IAAF) World Championships will not be easy for Bahamian triple jumper ‘Superman’ Leevan Sands, who has been sidelined since the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The national record holder in the event is saddened by the fact that he will be unable to compete at the championships, which will be held in Moscow, Russia, August 10-18. Sands, who won the bronze at the 2003 world championships, is still doing rehabilitation on his knee which he injured in the triple jump final in London.

“I haven’t missed a world championships in years, or should I say since I’ve been traveling on the senior team around 2002,” said Sands. “I would like to be there this year, show the world what I can do and that I am still a force to reckon with, but I guess I have to re-focus and come back stronger for next year. There’s no pressure. Injuries are a part of the job and something that I have accepted. If I had my way, I would be there competing for The Bahamas, something I enjoy doing.”

At the 2011 championships in Daegu, South Korea, Sands finished seventh overall with a leap of 17.21 meters (m) - 56’ 5-3/4”. American Christian Taylor captured the gold medal with a leap of 17.96m (58’ 11-1/4”). Sands placed fourth in 2009 in Berlin and failed to make the final in 2007. The winning jump in 2009 was 17.73m (58’ 2”), a mark turned in by Phillips Idowu of Great Britain. Nelson Evora, of Portugal, won in 2007.

Sands said: “I’ve been competing for more than 16 years, advancing to the final almost every year. When I went down at the Olympic Games, I think my body was just telling me that I needed a break. One thing I would say about me is I go 110 percent everyday, and at all competitions. Right now, I just needed a little time off to regroup and rest my leg. If I didn’t get hurt last year, I still would have been going hard, fighting like I always do, despite the injuries. No matter what, I try to fight through it.

“I know some of the guys are kind of happy that I am not there because I am a force to be reckoned with. You know I always show up at the world championships. I guess this is an opportunity for them to get their medals, so let them get it now before I come back.”

Sands was told by doctors that he would be sidelined for at least nine months. The injury occurred on August 9, 2012 while Sands was competing in the triple jump final. He went into surgery shortly after his right knee popped out. The “road to recovery”, according to Sands, started late last year.

“I won’t say that I have gotten relaxed on competing. This is something that I have to go through to get my leg stronger,” said Sands, who had just completed another successful therapy treatment. “This is something that I have to do in order to win gold medals. Unfortunately, my knee is not ready as yet. It has been almost a year and I can feel it getting stronger. In fact, I am getting stronger and all of the muscles are starting to come back in my leg. Everything is looking good. I am trying to stay focussed, and rebuild my confidence in terms of jumping. My mind is clear and I have my eyes set on a number of things, but I must remain focussed knowing that my body is just not ready to compete as yet. I thought it would have been by now, but I still have to work on a few things.”

Sands is one of the most decorated male athletes in the history of athletics in this country. As a senior athlete, he has represented The Bahamas at a number of Olympic Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Championships. Sands made his first CARIFTA Games team in 1997.

 

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