One of the big challenges at any World Championships is that some athletes perform well, and some do not. For Jazmin Sawyers, 2023 European Indoor Champ and a member of the exclusive seven meter club, Budapest just did not go well.
Jazmin Sawyers – a bad day
Track and Field can be a cruel sport! In March 2023, Jazmin was top of the world – European Champion, a member of the 7-meter club, a favorite for the World Championship, and then…
She put the seven-meter jump down to “a combination of a number of things. My running – something clicked even between qualifying and the final with how I ran. My coach, Aston Moore, gave me a cue about driving down into the track as well as lifting my knees. I was lifting my knees quite well, and he gave me a cue about driving down. That just gave me so much more off the track”.
Jazmin Sawyers, photo by Chiara Montesano for European Athletics
She also tweaked her technique: “Instead of running in the air once, I run in the air twice. I do 2 full cycles in the air and then come into the land rather than doing one full cycle and then landing”.
Her outdoor season’s best was 6.78 in Nice at the beginning of June. She qualified for the World Championships with a 6.77 (and a windy 6.86) at the British Championships. She performed solid but not spectacularly in the Florence, Paris and London Diamond Leagues. In a very wet Stockholm, she slipped on the runway.
The best she could manage in Budapest was a 6.41, not enough to qualify for the final. Her honest summary was, “I just couldn’t make it happen.”
Jazmin Sawyers, LJ, Manchester 2022, British Champs, photo by Getty Images/ British Athletics
She referred to her injuries but refused to use them as an excuse: “I was feeling good, and anyone who steps on the track, ready to compete, should be expected to do as they’re supposed to. I’ve had a very disrupted prep with injuries, but if I was willing to stand out there, I should’ve been ready to easily qualify for the final and go for a medal. I’ve massively underperformed there. I haven’t been able to do any jump sessions for a while, and so there’s stuff I’d liked to have had the time to work on. I was hoping I could work on it through the rounds, but I just didn’t quite solve it in time. To be honest, I don’t want to stand here and make that excuse; it’s not good enough. When you select a team as strong as this with the intention of top-eight finishes and medal finishes, we should rise to that occasion as athletes. I’ve let a lot of people down there, most of all myself. I really feel I’ve let myself down”.
Athletes are human, and as Jazmin said, there are days when you just can’t make it happen.