Giant leap for Jackson Quiñonez
Jackson Quiñonez, Olympic 110m hurdles finalist, changed events for a day. He went in for the high jump, and won!
This weekend the Catalan Indoor Championship in Vilafranca enjoyed the unexpected presence of 110m
hurdles specialist Jackson Quiñonez. But the FC Barcelona surprised all by entering the high jump
competition, and with a height of 2.12 metres, he topped the podium.
“I could have done much better”
Quiñonez spoke about his achievement. “I was very nervous, I
didn’t know how things would go. When I got to 2.12 m I’d already made 10 jumps, it was
really tough.” Pleased with his performance, Quiñonez is convinced that if he hadn’t
felt so tired “I could have done more, maybe another 5 or 6 centimetres.”
It was the need for a new challenge that led him to do such an unusual thing. “I
decided to enter this event because after being in the Olympics it’s hard to get excited
about things. It was an event that motivated me, that fed my fighting spirit, and it has helped me
a lot. Unfortunately, the other hurdlers in Catalonia are well short of my times. This was a new
challenge, I wanted to get my competitive spirit back.”
Back to his origins
But the high jump is nothing new to this nationalised Ecuadorian, for he
used to compete at it before becoming a pro hurdler. “I have a history in the high jump. When
I was young up until about 2001, I used to do the hurdles, long jump and high jump. I jumped 2.20
when I was 20, but I was younger and lighter then. Later I decided to work on the hurdles full
time. It is easier to improve seconds than centimetres”.
The high jump has added variety to his training schedule. “Since I returned from
Beijing it has been about mentality. After each hurling session, I’d do some high jump
practice, it was the excitement that drove me, but it was very hard”.
Despite his odd decision, Quiñonez is convinced that “any athlete of my level can do
just as well in any of the other events”.
The 28 year old FC Barcelona athlete has no plans to go any further with
his high jumping. “It was something to amuse me, a way of gaining oxygen, and it didn’t
go bad for me … I’d like to try out other athletics events” but with a smile he
added “I am a bit too old for now for trying out too many things ".
His main focus now is getting ready for the European championships in Turin.