Francis hopeful Gayle recovers for Oregon
MVP Track Club head coach Paul Francis says that he is hopeful that long jump World champion Tajay Gayle will be fit in time to defend his title at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, next month.
Gayle suffered an injury at the JAAA National Senior Championships during the men's long jump final on Saturday. Gayle, the national record holder, landed awkwardly during his fifth attempt and could not continue the competition, finishing in second place with a season's best of 7.97m. University of Tennessee's Wayne Pinnock won the title with a jump of 8.14 on his first attempt.
While Francis did not disclose the extent of his injury, he said that Gayle's treatment process has already started, and says he is optimistic about his recovery with three weeks to go until the Championships.
"We have been working assiduously," Francis told STAR Sports. "His treatment has begun and as we get a bit closer we will have a clear view of what his situation is. But we are hopeful at this time."
Gayle has had injury problems last year, suffering a knee injury in the first round of the long jump at the Tokyo Olympics. Despite making it to the final, he finished 11th. He recently spoke about the importance of clearing the mental barrier that the knee injury in Tokyo caused, with the hope of getting back to his best.
"Since the Olympics, I haven't been at my best," Gayle said on April 4. "But based on training, I am 90 per cent there."
As the World champion, Gayle earned an automatic qualification for Eugene. While he faces a short window to recover and prepare for the Championships, Francis maintains a positive outlook on his chances.
"Of course, we will always do our very best to ensure all our athletes are fit and ready to compete," Francis said.