June 20 2013 Latest news:
Dave Evans, Athletics Correspondent
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Newham & Essex Beagle youngster Kai Jones is plotting a path towards Rio 2016
When Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt was lining up to compete at the London 2012 Olympics, there must have been hundreds of youngsters in the crowd dreaming of stepping out into that arena and winning a gold medal.
One of those youngsters was 16-year-old Kai Jones and if he fulfils his potential, he may well be heading for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Jones is a new recruit to Newham & Essex Beagles this season and the shot put star is already making a name for himself as he leads the British rankings by a distance and has his eye on a place in the GB team for the World under-18 Championships in the Ukraine in July.
“I was at the Olympic Stadium and saw Usain Bolt and he is just the best,” said Jones, who secured the English age group title two weeks ago with considerable ease, two metres clear of his nearest rival.
“It was a great atmosphere in the stadium and to see Bolt was amazing. He is the best in the world and in a few years I hope to be the same.”
Kai puts much of his success in the last couple of years down to coach Lukasz Barzyk, while his other inspiration is mum Lorraine, who was a junior shot putter of some renown, before a car crash curtailed her career.
It explains why the youngster chose a discipline to specialise in which has not been fashionable since the days of Geoff Capes.
“I have been doing shot put since I was in year seven, but I got into it because of my Mum really,” said the youngster.
“But things really took off when I went to Lukasz for coaching, in the first two weeks I was with him, I managed to increase my personal best by two metres.”
That personal best has now increased to a whopping 18.47 metres which he achieved last weekend in Loughborough, increasing his previous best by 27 centimetres, but it is still just shy of the qualifying mark he needs for Ukraine.
“I have done 18.98m in training, but that doesn’t count of course,” he explained. “I need to reach 18.70m before the end of April to qualify and I am hopeful of doing that.”
His coach believes he has the ability to do that, despite him not being able to throw for two months last year due to an arm injury.
“I think he has a great future,” said Barzyk, who has targeted this year’s World under-18s and next year’s World Junior Championships in the United States as his primary goals. “We need to work on technique, but he is a hard working young man and I believe in him very much.”
Such is Kai’s dominance in the sport, he already has a higher ranking than the top under-20 athlete in Britain.
And he is hoping that his move from west to east London will give him the extra push he needs.
“I decided to come over to Newham for the support that they can give me,” said Kai, who still lives in Southall, Middlesex.
He trains five days a week, including three gruelling sessions in the gym.
“I need to keep working hard, keep working with my coach and I believe I can achieve what I want. I want to get to the worlds in Ukraine, but my ultimate goal has to be the Olympics in Brazil.”
It is a long, tough road until then, but few would bet against the powerful 16-year-old achieving that ambition. With role models like Usain Bolt, how could he fail?