HANGZHOU, China—Just one incredible jump, one he is capable of anyway.
That’s all it is going to take for Janry Ubas to make the podium in the 19th Asian Games (Asiad) here.
The current Southeast Asian Games men’s long jump champion and record-holder is hoping to find that extra spring in his legs not only to win a medal in Asiad athletics but to meet the qualifying leap for next year’s Olympics in Paris as well.
“It’s possible. On a good day, I believe I can make it,’’ said Ubas in Filipino after sneaking into the finals of his event scheduled on Sunday.
Amid the drizzle and fog at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre, the 29-year-old from Misamis Oriental leapt to a length of 7.79 meters (m) in the qualifier on Saturday for a spot in the gold-medal chase.
That solid leap installed Ubas at third overall behind China’s Shi Yuhao (8.14m) and second-placer Sreeshankar of India (7.97m) going into the eight-man final.
Vaulting to victory on a good day isn’t entirely improbable.
Just three months ago in Bangkok, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yu-tang pulled off a rare victory in the Asian athletics championships with a meet record of 8.40m that earned him the gold. It was a distance the Taiwanese had never leapt to before. Lin’s lucky jump propelled him to an automatic spot in the Paris Summer Games.
Lin also qualified for the finals here after landing fourth on Saturday with a leap of 7.70m.
“A medal would be nice, but I’m also targeting the Olympic standard,’’ said Ubas, also a men’s decathlon silver medalist in the Cambodia SEA Games early this year.
It’s less of a stretch for Ubas to make that lucky leap to the podium as he owns the SEA Games record of 8.08m already. Although the 8.27 Olympic qualification mark is still way off, Ubas is confident that his rankings will go north before the Paris window closes a month prior to the quadrennial global showpiece.
Currently at No. 53 in the world, the multiple SEA Games medalist in long jump and decathlon built his confidence on a pair of victories in Europe prior to his Asiad stint.
“He only needs one lucky jump. A medal is possible if he can equal or even surpass his best,’’ said De Rosas, who handles the training of Ubas.
Ubas won the Triveneto Meeting Internazionale in Trieste, Italy in late July and clinched the Motonet Grand Prix Lappeenranta in Finland three days earlier. INQ
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