MONTEGO BAY, St James — Jamaica's K'Don Samuels opened his season with an impressive 5.20m for second place in the pole vault at the Texas Tech Indoors Open at the TTU Athletics Training centre, Lubbock, Texas on Saturday.
The former Jamaica College athlete, who holds the National Junior Record 4.85m, opened at 4.90m after passing three previous heights, knocking the bar down once each at 4.90m, 5.05m and 5.20m before failing three times at 5.30m to finishing second behind Texas Tech sophomore Kayal Myers who won with 5.30m.
Samuels, who is the only Jamaican to win the event at the Penn Relays when he claimed victory in 2009 setting a then National Junior Record 4.80m, relocated to Texas this year after training in Italy last year and had his eyes firmly fixed on qualifying for this year's Olympics in London.
If he is to make the team to London, Samuels would have to surpass his personal best of 5.25m set last year by a considerable margin, given that the B standard to qualify for the Olympics is 5.60m.
Jabari Ennis, who returned to competitive pole vaulting last year, has the National Record of 5.30m set 10 years ago.
Samuels, who is being coached by Tom Slagle at South Plains in Texas, should return to action in two weeks time on February 4, when he told the Observer he hoped to break his own personal best marks.