Story courtesy of Lester Blackett

President, Nevis Amateur Athletic Association

Tanika Liburd of Nevis recently jumped a season best and first place distance of 6.44m or 21ft 1in, in her first outdoor meet of the year at the University of Southern Mississippi Invitational. Her effort places her No. 4 in the world and No. 1 in the Caribbean (for Outdoor competition as of 15/3/08) and No. 89 in the world and No. 6 in the Caribbean (Indoors).

Her goal is to jump at least 7.00 meters or better, which would rank her amongst the world’s top five jumpers.  Her aim and hope is to make the 2008 Olympic team, and any other World Championship teams, as well as compete in other major events.  Added to that she hopes to make her country, family, and friends proud of her one day, when she becomes an Olympian. Her mother, Glenis Challenger and father, Andy Liburd, were both top athletes in their era.

Tanika is currently in training for the 2008 Olympic Games to be hosted in Beijing with her collegiate coach Greg Stringer.

Interview with Tanika Liburd

Question: This is your first outdoor meet for 2008. How do you rate your performance?

Tanika: Well today (15/3/08) was a good day despite the fact that I have the flu.  I just asked God to give me the strength I needed to complete each jump.  I went out there and took it one jump at a time.  I still have a few rough edges to iron out and hopefully over the next couple of weeks I can do so.

Question: What are your goals for 2008?

Tanika: My main focus right now is to get an Olympic qualifying jump, whether it be A or B.

Question: What are your long term goals for Track & Field and particularly the Long Jump?

Tanika: My long term goal for track is to be a World Class athlete in the Long Jump while representing St. Kitts – Nevis and to compete in Championships such as the 2008 Olympic Games, as well as World Championship and Commonwealth Games.

Question: Are you planning or hoping to compete in the European circuit?

Tanika: That is something I want and hope to do, and I would like to because I think it would be a great experience.  However, the funds are currently not available to do so at this time. Hopefully I will get a sponsor that will allow me to pursue that dream.

Question: What is a typical day for Tanika in terms of training?

Tanika: Well right now we are working on my approach to the board in terms of speed, so I do a lot of short sprints, 30’s and 60’s.  Also in preparation for the 100m and a spot of the 4x100m National team, my workout includes some 250’s, 150’s etc.  but mostly my workout is centered around technical aspects for the Long Jump.

Tanika’s results at upcoming events will be posted on the Nevis Amateur Athletics Association website at http://groups.msn.com/nevisathletics.