Community rallies for jumping champ

GOLDEN: Jacob Zorzella is eyeing a spot at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

With a contingent of 50 Lawrence Heights supporters, triple jumper Jacob Zorzella thrilled his hometown crowd when he garnered gold at the 2010 Canadian Track and Field Championships.

Tying a personal best of 15.47 metres July 30 at University of Toronto’s Varsity Centre, the Vaughan Road Academy alumnus has secured top spot two years in a row.

Zorzella’s confidence is growing by bounds as he looks to qualify for 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, but not before going to the provincials Aug. 14-15 in Sudbury.

“This year was a lot more relaxed,” he said. “Before going into the meet I had the two best jumps in the country already so I already felt I was in a good position to win.”

Those two previous jumps were 15.10 and 15.12. His improvement on those numbers could be attributed to his solid following.

In the stands were friends, family and community members – including local kids calling themselves the Ladybugs – rallying behind him, flashing signs, smiles and salutes.

“It was really great to have all of them,” he said. “I work over at the Lawrence Heights Community Centre, so for them they hear so much about it but they have never actually seen me in action.

“They keep hearing, ‘I won this, I won that’. Having the nationals in Toronto once again for them, it was so exciting.”

Striving for the next level, Zorzella is looking to eclipse his current personal best.

“I still felt I could have done better,” he said. “The jump that I had, because you jump from a 13-metre board away from the sand, I never really caught the board perfect.

“If I would have caught the board perfectly my jump would have been a 15.80 or something,” he added. “My goal now is focus on catching that board and making sure everything leads up and I’m able to carry my speed through.”

It makes him all the more determined to visit London, England for the 2012 Summer Games.

To qualify for the 2008 Olympics triple jumpers had to jump within a B-standard of 16.20 at least three times in a season, and an A-standard of 16.70 once.

“I’m not too far from that now, hopefully (at the provincials) I’m going to be able to get the Athletics Canada Carding Standard, which is 15.70, so from there I will be funded for the next season.”

– Photo courtesy Jacob Zorzella

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