Chantel Malone leaps to American Track League victory

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Chantel Malone gets her first opportunity to compete since the COVID-19 pandemic began

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

Challenged with the uncertainty of global competition because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chantel Malone got her first outdoor action in nine months on Saturday, when she won the Atlanta Track League Long Jump in Georgia.

Malone cut the sand at 6.60m in her pet event and was most happy to get an idea of where her training regimen is, as she has faced numerous challenges in finding training venues. She said it as a good meet.

“It was just to get the cow webs out and test the waters again,” she told Island Sun sports on Monday. “I just went in with the mindset that I was at practice, so it wasn’t too much pressure. It was about going out and seeing where I was.”

That 6.60m jump she noted was behind the board. She said the guy recording the measurement, took the tape from her takeoff point.

“Guess what that distance was?….6.97,” she said. “I’m in pretty good shape, I’m excited. The first jump was in the 6.50s, but from where I took off, it was 6.83. I know for a fact that I’m in pretty good shape, it’s just to put it together in a competition, but all things will come together when the time is right, because, ultimately, the Olympics is the main goal. If I can continue to progress from where I am, I’ll be happy.”

Training has been challenging because of the main fact of not knowing if you’d be kicked off the track, had to jump fences or improvise in certain areas of training, Malone said. She hadn’t been able to engage in weight training for a while, so her coach Dwight Phillips had her doing exercises that would mimic what she’d do in the weight room. There was a difficult adjustment she added, but took the best she could from it and made the best of everything she had. 

“It hasn’t been too bad in terms of getting the work done, but in terms of getting access to the track and therapy services, that’s definitely tough,” she said. “But, you do what you have to do. If it takes climbing fences and risking it all, then, that’s what we did.”

Since everything is fluid, Malone is uncertain if she’ll be able to compete this weekend or in early August—but that depends on what her coach wants. Being able to jump she stated is to see where she is before shutting it down till fall training begins and getting ready for 2021. With travel to Europe from the USA banned, she said along with her coach, they’ll use the time work on being technically sound, executing as she should and going from there.

“There’s no other plan of what we’re going to do because everything is so uncertain,” she said. “There’s no sure thing. Everything is kind of hit or miss with COVID.”

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