SHOT PUT AFTER missing out on quality competition for the past two seasons, Traves Smikle, who competed for Jamaica at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, had to watch from the sidelines after failing a doping test. However, his suspension was provisionally lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last February. Since his comeback, the 23-year-old former Calabar High School throwing sensation has been taking it slowly. Last Saturday, he played second fiddle to his teammate at Calabar High and now UWI, Fedrick Dacres, in the men’s Open discus, where he threw 57.47 metres. “Today (Saturday) my performance didn’t go as planned as coming off a good training session I expected better. But I sustained an injury to my left hand, which was kind of sprained, but my coach told me to go out there and try to compete, and I will just have to go back and get treatment for the injury,” said Smikle, who has a personal best of 67.12m in the discus back in 2012. He also competes in the shot put, where he has a personal best 18.58m, done in 2011. “Overall, I am being patient and this is track and field, and with my event, it is not something you have to rush as you just have to be persistent and the breakthrough will come, so I am being patient and dealing with the problems I have,” he said. Smikle stated that he also enjoys the rivalry between him and his teammates. “It is good as we make each other better, and right now, we are finding ways to get further throws, and the rivalry is good, and we just hope for more progress and positive vibes,” he said. “Coming into this season I am more motivated and focused, and during the period, I had my issues. I was not doing enough training as I was sorting out personal things. But with regard to my athleticism I am getting it back, so I need to get back my fitness and certain things I normally had, and it is going to take some time, but I am being patient,” he said. Smikle believes overseas competition at the highest level will be key for improvements. “At this point in our career, we have to get more competition to get to a higher level as it is all about competing against the best, and in order to improve, you have to compete against the best in the world. As my coach always says, you have to be in the ‘fire’, and Fedrick is leaving soon to go to compete in Europe, and that is also my aim as I thrive off competition,” he said.