Tuesday, July 25, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Henderson makes Team USA

Leader sports editor

Jeff Henderson will compete in the 2017 World Championships that begin Aug. 4 in London. That didn’t appear to be the case when the U.S. Championships in Sacramento ended late last month. Henderson did not finish in the top three at the U.S. Championships, which is typically a requirement for qualifying for the World Championships, but it’s not always a sure thing, and that proved to be the case this year.

The rules are confusing, because the results stand and the top three finishers get to keep their medals. However, Henderson becomes the No. 2 qualifier because his jump was wind legal while no one else’s in the top five were.

In fact, only three of the 12 competitors in the U.S. finals recorded a wind-legal jump.

Wind assistance does not matter in order of finish, which is why Henderson is still officially the fifth place finisher in the 2017 U.S. Championships, but it does matter when it comes to determining records, and qualifying for the World Championships.

According to international rules, no jump with a wind assistance greater than 2.0 meters per second can be counted towards qualifying for the world championships if the competitor had not already met the pre-qualifying standard required.

The pre-qualifying standard for the world championships this year for men’s long jump was 8.15 meters.

Neither Damarcus Simpson, nor Jarvis Gotch, the two athletes who finished third and fourth ahead of Henderson, had met the qualifying standard, and both had wind assistance above 2.0 m/s.

Marquis Dendy, who finished second last month, also had not met the pre-qualifying standard this year, but he did so in a later meet that secured his spot at worlds.

Simpson and Gotch, neither of whom had ever jumped 8 meters before the 2017 U.S. meet, both failed to meet the qualifying standard in follow-up meets. And since their U.S. championship meets were with wind assistance of 5.0 m/s for Simpson, and 2.4 m/s for Gotch, Henderson moved into the No. 2 qualifying spot for Team USA.

Former Arkansas Razorback Jarrion Lawson won the U.S. Championships with a leap of 8.49 meters with a wind assistance of 3.7 m/s. But he, like Henderson, had already met the qualifying standard before the U.S. competition, and so his spot was not in jeopardy.

Dendy was second last month at 8.39 meters with a 3.1 m/s wind assistance. Simpson, whose previous personal record was 7.95, jumped 8.36 meters with the whopping 5.0 wind assistance. Gotch, who’s previous PR was 7.99, jumped 8.30.

Henderson jumped 8.28 with a legal 2.0 wind assistance. Lawson, Henderson, Dendy and the other men’s long jump competitors get right to it, competing in the qualification round at 3:30 p.m. local time on opening day, Friday, Aug. 4.

The finals will start at 4:05 local time on Saturday, Aug. 5.