AFTER being named on Guyana’s Commonwealth Games team, Triple Jump specialist, Troy Doris would spend every day dreaming about a top-of-the-podium finish in his event, and more so some redemption for missing out on an Olympic Medal after his seventh-place finish in Brazil in 2016.
Guyana’s 20-man contingent at the 21st edition of the Commonwealth Games in Australia’s Gold Coast were medal-less until Doris’ historic gold medal jump on the penultimate day of the games.
Dominica’s Yordanys Duranona Garcia’s first jump of 16.86 metres was the leading leap on the day. Doris had just three of six legal jumps left. The first–16.67 metres–would not have given him a medal. Then came the ‘golden’ leap of 16.88 metres which brought him the ultimate hardware.
Garcia eventually picked up silver and Cameroon’s Marcel Mayack II earned the bronze medal with his personal best leap of 16.46 metres.
“It feels good, rewarding; something that, with no exaggeration, I’ve dreamed about for the past six months and I told myself that I’m going to leave Australia with a gold medal,” Doris said in an exclusive interview with Chronicle Sport from ‘Down Under’.
Doris pointed out that he felt compelled to win a medal for Guyana, since the athletes in the other disciplines were unsuccessful in their bid. He told this publication that he feels his medal was also “rewarding to myself, the team and the managers to leave with a gold.”
Doris’ gold medal was the first for Guyana since Aliann Pompey claimed the women’s 400 metres title at the games in Manchester, England, in 2002.
It was only the country’s fourth gold medal at the games with the first dating back to the inaugural Commonwealth Games in 1930, compliments of Philip Aaron Edwards in athletics, while the second medal came at the 1978 games in Canada when Winfield Braithwaite won Gold in Boxing.
The Carrara Stadium stood still while Guyana’s ‘Golden Arrowhead’ was being hoisted for the first and only time at the games, accompanied by the playing of the National Anthem, with Doris singing along.
Doris later told Chronicle Sport that he was filled with “unexpected emotions,” adding “you don’t plan what you’re going to do when you win. The emotions just came, thinking about my family that are not here. It was really a happy moment for me to share the joy with everyone.”
Meanwhile, Doris said that his gold medal is dedicated to all the Guyanese athletes and officials that travelled to Australia, calling it “significant because the team needed it just like I did, because being here and meeting all these great athletes, and I’m not just saying that for the interview, but I do mean that they are all great athletes, and seeing what they can do. We could build some momentum and maybe I could be the catalyst for that.”
Doris is of the belief that Guyana needs to find a way to bridge the competitive gap with other countries, pointing out “everyone needs to come together to help us (Guyana) have consecutive championships, some podium finishes and for us to be relevant at every championship.”
The 29-year-old Doris, a former University of Iowa stand-out, was one of the top jumpers in the USA at the time he decided to pledge his allegiance to representing Guyana in 2015, thanks to his affiliation through his parents.
His gold medal performance was hailed by Guyanese around the world, with President David Granger, in a release to the media, claiming that “the win has made every Guyanese exceedingly proud and demonstrates that with hard work and sacrifice, great feats can be accomplished.”
President Granger also pointed out that Doris’ win “gives the nation something to celebrate and endows every Guyanese with the pride of knowing that the Golden Arrowhead was flown high on the international stage.”
According to the IAAF, Doris’ 16.88 metres jump at the Commonwealth Games is the ninth best in the world so far.
Always tell someone how you feel because opportunities are lost in the blink of an eye but regret can last a lifetime.