Updated 31 July 2008
Jefferson Dias SABINO, Brazil (Triple Jump)
Born 4 November 1982, Guarulhos, Sao Paulo state, Brazil
1.92m / 94kg
Lives: São Paulo
Coach: Nélio Alfano Moura
Club: Clube de Atletismo BM&F (BM&F Athletics Club)
It is a common South American story. An athlete is discovered by chance and, despite not concentrating on the sport until well into his teenage years, he benefits from strong leadership and goes on to stand out internationally.
Jefferson Dias Sabino is one of the newest gems of Brazilian athletics. Before joining this sport, at the age of 14, he used to play basketball. One of the BM&F Athletics Club coaches was dazzled with his height and huge body. Nevertheless, he convinced Sabino to quit basketball after he practised both sports for a whole year.
At that time, Sabino had not only changed sports, but moved from Guarulhos suburbs to Sao Paulo city as well. Led by Nélio Alfano Moura – Jadel Gregório’s first coach and present coach to Maurren Higa Maggi and Keila Costa da Silva - Sabino began to learn jumping techniques. After three seasons, he competed at the 2000 World Junior Championships, in Santiago, Chile, both in Long Jump and Triple Jump.
Sabino had a promising future. However, as he was young, he preferred to attend University as well. Therefore, he combined training with Publicity and Advertising lessons. “When I retire from athletics, I’d like to work in sports marketing, so as to make use of all the experience I will have at that time”, he explained.
Because of the time Sabino dedicated to University, and being out of competition for five months in 2003 with a broken left ankle, he could not reach his best performance during those seasons. However, he did manage to improve his PB little by little.
In 2005, Sabino achieved his first regional great result; winning the gold medal at the South American Championships, in Cali. The following year, he was second to Gregório at the GP in Brazil (17.22 PB), surpassing 17 metres for the first time and defeating Cuban Yoandri Betanzos. “Now I know I can compete with the best athletes,” he said. “Although I had faith I could beat Betanzos that day, I didn’t believe I could reach 17 metres”, he declared.
Thanks to that mark, Sabino was invited to take part in top European meetings. Up to that moment, he had competed only in South America. But now, the Brazilian Athletics Confederation took him to training sessions in Formia, Italy.
In 2007, Sabino recorded his greatest international achievement, winning the gold medal at the Ibero American Championships in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and a place among the Pan American Games podium candidates in Rio de Janeiro. “I was in good shape, but I finished fourth,” he remembered. “However, jumping in front of so many Brazilian spectators was a unique experience. That’s something my brother would not be able to live through”, he added, talking about his younger brother, who is starting to get good results in the Triple Jump and wants to follow his steps.
A few weeks later Sabino took part in his first senior World Championships, in Osaka, but could not pass the qualification round. He did not allow himself to dwell on disappointment and kept training hard for the future. “I needed to be patient and kept on focused on my training sessions,” he said. “I knew I would improve little by little. I was happy with the results, but not satisfied.”
In April 2008, Sabino achieved not only his PB at a meeting in São Paulo with 17.28, but also the A qualifying standard for Beijing. Thus he will be both Gregório’s partner and competitor at the Olympic Games. “I know that, if I repeat that mark, I can reach the Final on my first Olympics,” he said. “Anyway, I don’t want to be anxious. Otherwise it may be disadvantageous. It would surely be exciting to finally experience something you’ve been dreaming of your whole life.
“My goal, besides the Beijing Final, is to achieve 17.40 during this season. For the future, I’m aiming to beat Gregório’s South American record (17.90). But I really don’t want to think about it right now.” He says he manages to forget about jumping only when he goes out with friends or surfs the Internet.
Triple Jump: 17.28 (2008); 17.06i (2006)
Long Jump: 7.54 (2000)
Triple Jump: 2000: 15.78; 2001: 16.01; 2002: 16.45; 2003: 16.66; 2004: 16.62; 2005: 16.75; 2006: 17.22; 2007: 16.90; 2008: 17.28
2000 q World Junior Championships (Santiago) 15.48
2004 3rd Ibero American Championships (Huelva) 16.16
2005 6th World University Games (Izmir) 16.39
1st South American Championships (Cali) 16.24
2006 q World Indoor Championships (Moscow) 16.55
2006 1st Ibero American Championships (Ponce) 16.81
5th South American Championships (Tunja) 15.45
2007 1st South American Championships (São Paulo) 16.68
4th Pan American Championships (Rio de Janeiro) 16.81
q World Championships (Osaka) 16.34
Prepared by Víctor Pochat for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2008.