Happy Skin­ner takes the pos­i­tives from win­ning first medal

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

Five cen­time­tres is a tiny dif­fer­ence in long jump­ing but Ton­bridge’s Zak Skin­ner wasn’t ru­ing the fine mar­gins af­ter a valiant World Para Ath­let­ics Euro­pean sil­ver medal. The 19-year-old was lead­ing the men’s T13 long jump with two rounds to go but set­tled for sec­ond place in Ber­lin, his fi­nal ef­fort of 6.72m prov­ing just shy of Spain’s Ivan Jose Cano Blanco. But with the Brit within three cen­time­tres of his per­sonal best, this was far from a re­sult to be dis­ap­pointed in. In­stead, Skin­ner is us­ing it as fuel for big­ger and bet­ter things, with a World Cham­pi­onships in Dubai to come in 2019 be­fore the Tokyo 2020 Par­a­lympic Games. He said: “Five cen­time­tres isn’t a lot but you learn from it and, although I have got that lit­tle bit of dis­ap­point­ment that I didn’t win, I have taken a mas­sive pos­i­tive away from my first medal at my sec­ond Cham­pi­onships. “I gave it my all, un­for­tu­nately, it wasn’t quite good enough but it is only go­ing to make me a bet­ter ath­lete in the fu­ture. “I’m pleased with the per­for­mance, com­pared to last year where I only got one good jump in. This was good and I gave it my all. It was only a cou­ple of cen­time­tres off my per­sonal best so I’m happy, I’ve got a sil­ver medal and I’ll trea­sure that.” An achieve­ment like this was per­haps be­yond Skin­ner a year ago, more in tune with the track as op­posed to the sand with a plethora of run­ning events. Now he has just one – the T13 100m to­day (Thurs­day) – a switch of fo­cus that is so far prov­ing worth­while as he strives to push his bound­aries. And with the per­for­mances of both he and the field im­prov­ing with each meet, the teenager can’t wait to see what the next two years have in store. “We had a mas­sive ad­just­ment this year, we’ve gone from fo­cus­ing on the track to just hav­ing the long jump and the sprint so we’ve been able to change a lot – that’s shown in my pro­gres­sion,” added Skin­ner, who has oc­u­lar al­binism which af­fects his vi­sion. “This was a strong field and I wouldn’t have it any other way, I nor­mally do best in those sit­u­a­tions and I was im­prov­ing with ev­ery jump out there. I had to work for it. “The closer it gets in the long jump, the bet­ter all of us are go­ing to do and that’s only a good thing. “It was nice to see my fam­ily, it makes a mas­sive dif­fer­ence hav­ing them in the crowd there and sup­port­ing and I’m sure the stress lifted from my mum’s face when I got that first jump in.” Bri­tish Ath­let­ics works along­side UK Sport and the Na­tional Lot­tery to sup­port the de­liv­ery of suc­cess at the world’s most sig­nif­i­cant sport­ing events, prin­ci­pally the Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games. We do this via the funded ini­tia­tive, the World Class Pro­gramme, one part of the Bri­tish Ath­let­ics path­way.

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