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Etienne looking forward to Pan Am U20 Championships

Bahamian high jumper has his sights set on Ingraham’s junior national mark
  • Jyles Etienne will represent The Bahamas in the boys high jump at the Pan American U20 Athletics Championships, which is set for July 21-23 in Trujillo, Peru. FILE

Published: Jul 17, 2017

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The Bahamas will send an eight-member team to the Pan American U20 Athletics Championships, scheduled for July 21-23 in Trujillo, Peru.

The eight members of the team are: Females — Brianne Bethel (100/200 meters), Daejha Moss (long jump/high jump), Serena Brown (discus/shot put), Laquell Harris (discus/shot put); and males — Holland Martin (200 meters/long jump), Jyles Etienne (high jump), Kyle Alcine (high jump/long jump), and Tamar Greene (long jump/triple jump).

Bethel and Martin are from Grand Bahama, and the others hail from New Providence.

The Manager of the team is Laura Pratt-Charlton, the Head Coach is Patrick Adderley, the Assistant Coach/Chaperone is Ann Thompson, and the Medical Doctor is Dr. Charles Clarke.

Today, The Nassau Guardian sports section features high jumper Jyles Etienne. Here’s his story:


‘My story, my journey’

I started high jumping three years ago as a sophomore at The Stony Brook School in New York. From my very first meet, I knew that I would have a future in this event. My personal best improved over a foot — from 1.88 meters (m)/6’ 2” to 2.20m/7’ 2-1/2” in May of this year, and gave me a ranking of number nine in the world in the under-20 category. It was also the best indoor jump by a high school athlete in the United States of America (USA) this year. In 2016, I made my first track and field national team when I went to the CARIFTA Games in St. George’s, Grenada, and I won the gold medal in the under-18 boys high jump. I qualified for the Pan American U20 Athletics Championships at my first full meet of 2017, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ (BAAA) CARIFTA Trials. There I would jump 2.18m/7’ 1-3/4” along with my CARIFTA and Pan Am U20 teammate Kyle Alcine. I had made the CARIFTA team a second time and came back with a bronze medal in the elevated under-20 (U20) division with a jump of 2.16m/7’ 1”.

After competing at CARIFTA, I feel that it showed me what I needed to work on in order to perform at the best of my abilities. I realized that it would be the small things that had the biggest impact on my performance level going forward — whether it be staying focused and hydrated, or making sure I did my exercises and stretches that had helped me in the past.

This year was very tough mentally, as I slightly injured my left heel while jumping my personal best 2.20m/7’ 2-1/2” on May 6 in New York. It was because of a very hard indoor track and the extreme pressure that is put on the heel when jumping that caused the bruised heel. Of course, this was a major setback because I jump with my left foot and subsequently every time I exerted pressure on it, the action would cause immense pain. This injury stopped me from defending my New York state title my senior year, and I missed out on almost a third of my season. The realization that I could not compete at the level that I knew I was capable of, and would miss out on meets that I knew I could win, would take a toll on me mentally, but my season ended on a positive note. My performance had caught the attention of Sports Illustrated and I was featured in the June 7, 2017, edition for my achievements in high school basketball and the high jump.

With the help of my coach, James Rolle, I discovered that my injury was caused mostly because of my take-off position being too low. I needed to be positioned in a more standing and upright position in order for the pressure to be distributed more equally across my foot. The recovery process included many things like icing daily, physical therapy, rest and foot reflexology treatment. Apart from treatment, I worked daily with my coach, learning how to take off properly in order to prevent something like that from happening again. I had to keep faith in God in order to recover and trust that God has a plan for me, and that everything happens for a reason.

Now I feel ready to take on the challenge of more competition on the world stage in Peru. This meet will prepare me for even bigger stages, such as the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Junior Championships and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Championships next year, when I compete as an athlete for the Indiana Hoosiers. I see the Pan Am U20 Championships as a necessary stepping stone to get me ready for where I want to go and what I want to accomplish.

My goal for Pan Am U20 is to jump at least 2.22m/7’ 3-1/4” and win in the process. The reason I chose that height is to break the New York state record of 2.21m/7’ 3” and to also put me in a good position to try to break the junior national record of 2.28m/7’ 5-3/4”, which is held by Ryan Ingraham. Lastly, I would like to congratulate and extend my best wishes to the rest of the team, as I believe, God willing, all of us will come back with medals around our necks.

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