Edwards soars at World Championships!

A triumphant Darvin Edwards after clearing 2.31 metres in men’s high jump at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, Korea. (Photo by Anders Sjogren)

Darvin Edwards spent two years away from athletics through injury and lack of finances. Imagine what the soon-to-be 25-year-old (in exactly two weeks) could have accomplished but for those two lost years.
Really, though, no need to imagine. Edwards is sitting pretty at the top of the world, with an amazing year that is not even over. He matched his St Lucia National Record and personal–best mark of 2.25 metres (m) earlier this year, improved to 2.27m, and then went on to clear 2.28m, a new National Record and an Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States record. More importantly, it was the qualifying standard for the 2011 World Championships in Athletics and the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
Edwards lives in England and trains and competes with Belgrave Harriers, under the watchful eyes of Trevor Llewelyn, who accompanied the young man to Worlds.
Going into the qualifying rounds Tuesday morning on a sunny day in Daegu, South Korea, at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, his first aim was to just make the final, either automatically by clearing 2.31m, or as one of the 12 best jumpers. He cleared at 2.16m and 2.21m, but missed his first trial at 2.25m–it was to be his only miss.
He went on to conquer 2.25m, soared over at 2.28m and then set new benchmarks for himself, his nation and his sub-region by going over at 2.31m, the first to do so in Group A. Group A, by the way, only included the man with the best height in the world so far this year, American champion Jesse Williams, and former World Champion Donald Thomas of the Bahamas.
“When I missed at 2.25m, it was a good jump,” mused Edwards, in the moments immediately following his leap. “The only problem was my run-up. I had to adjust it, make tiny adjustments. At 2.28m I brought my run-up back and started working the ground to get more penetration and speed. My coach mentioned to me that I went through the motion of driving my arms slowly at 2.28m and if I wanted to go over 2.31 I needed to drive them much quicker to get more rotation.”
Edwards  was one of just two men to set a personal–best mark in qualifying, and one of only three to complete the competition with no more than one miss at any height. His performance was exactly what you would ask of a champion-giving of his very best on the biggest stage of his career so far. And a bigger stage is still to come, as he will now compete in Thursday’s final.
“The job has just been done halfway,” said the prolific high jumper. His goal for the final, Thursday morning St Lucia time is to at least break the National Record again.
“I saw this happening way back in his early days at Entrepot Secondary,” remarked Gregory Lubin, who was instrumental in getting Edwards off the basketball court and into athletics. “At first, he was not really excited about high jump, but you could see the potential, the raw power. Myself and [Cuban coach] Noup Acosta really worked hard to convince him.”
Prior to Tuesday morning’s performance, his only international exposure for 2011 had been a bronze medal at the Central American and Caribbean Championships in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Given that one of his stated goals is to better his performance from Worlds when he heads to London 2012, God willing, it appears Edwards will be getting a lot more exposure. Hopefully, he can also be in an even better position to improve and better represent St Lucia.

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