“Representing the European team at the World Cup is a new experience. It is a big honour but at the same time it is a great responsibility. I am no longer the World Junior champion but I am now the reigning European senior champion”, said Andrew Howe about the upcoming 10th IAAF World Cup in Athletics, Athens, Greece.
Memorable year…record may yet fall in Athens
A memorable season at the Long Jump for Howe was highlighted by a World Indoor bronze medal, the outdoor European title, a win in the European Cup in Malaga, and a 8.41m (PB) leap which earned third place at the Golden League meeting in Rome behind eventual Golden League Jackpot winner Irving Saladino of Panama, and World Indoor champion Ignisious Gaisah of Ghana.
“It was great to win the European title but I wanted to jump further and break my PB”, said Howe.
“I won two World Junior titles in Grosseto in the Long Jump and in the 200 metres but Gothenburg is more special because it marked the first gold medal as a senior. But I don’t want to be content with this result. I want to break the long standing Italian record set by Giovanni Evangelisti in 1987 (8.43)….
“I know that I can jump 8.50. I need to improve some technical details and find the right place and the right conditions. The record may fall in Athens. I will face a very strong opposition. The favourite in Greece is Saladino who is the man to beat this year.”
“In Gothenburg I had to battle with difficult weather conditions. Without rain I could have jumped further…I need big rivals…to jump further.”
One week after Gothenburg, Howe started his post-European championships campaign with a good fourth place in the Zürich Weltklasse, his first-ever Golden League meeting abroad. He leapt to 8.19 twice but at the end of the competition he felt a bit disappointed.
“I wanted to jump further but I felt pain in my back.”
But injury problems did not stop him the following week when he leapt a winning 8.36m in Rieti and also produced a foul attempt which was near 8.50m. “I felt pain but I could not miss Rieti, the town where my career began.”
Promising speed work-out
On 2 September Howe tested his speed work before the World Cup with a convincing 100m in 10.27 (a new PB and the fastest time in Italy this year) in the Meeting Terra Sarda in Isili in Sardinia where he defeated sprint specialists like Deji Aliu, Patrick Johnson and 2002 World Cup winner Uchenna Emedolu. This was a remarkable result considering that he ran against a head wind of -0.9 m/s and faced this test without a specific preparation for this distance.
“I ran at 70 percent of my potential. I did not push to avoid the risk of injuries. But next year I want to combine the 100 metres and the Long Jump more frequently to improve my speed.”
Not a changed man
Andrew admitted that nothing has changed in his life and prefers to be remembered first of all as a normal man. “Gothenburg has not changed my life. On the contrary the European title has added to my motivation. I am not interested in earning money from athletics. I want to be myself and enjoy my life. After my win in Gothenburg I promised myself to fulfil two dreams: the first is to buy a new drum. I play drums in a hard rock quartet called “Craving”.
“I also have a love for animals and my dream is have a black puppy Labrador which I may name Jesse..... to honour Jesse Owens”
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF