Kent State Alumnus Samory Fraga Qualifies for Tokyo Summer Olympic Games
"It means a lifetime dream becoming reality. I started doing track when I was eight years old, so after 16 years of hard work and dedication, it finally paid off. I'm really happy by my accomplishment and all I can say is that I'm only getting started! I would like to thank all the Kent State Athletics staff, everyone who helped me during my college years, they are part of this accomplishment too!"
Those were the words of Kent State track and field alum Samory Fraga after jumping 8.23 meters to win the long jump at the Torneio Cidade de Braganca Paulista meet this past Saturday.
The mark is the sixth best in the world in 2021 and the best by a Brazilian long jumper. Going back further, the jump was the best for a Brazilian since Mauro Vinicus Da Silva jumped 8.27 meters on June 7, 2013 at the Sao Paulo Brazilian Championships.
More importantly, though, the mark was good enough to meet the entry standard for the long jump at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The standards, which have been called "the hardest outdoor world championship standards ever" by Gordon Mack at FloTrack, were released in 2019 and was set at 8.22 meters for the men's long jump.
The long jump field will be limited to 32 athletes, and as of writing only 23 athletes, including Fraga, have met the entry standard during the qualification period beginning May 1, 2019 and ending June 29, 2021.
Fraga will join at least two former Golden Flashes teammates at the Tokyo Games, which will be held from July 23 through August 8 and numerous other Kent State Student-Athletes Looking for Gold. Danniel Thomas-Dodd will represent Jamaica in her second straight Olympics and aims to improve on her 25th-place finish in the shot put in 2016. Thomas-Dodd won silver at the 2019 IAAF World Championships and is currently ranked third by World Athletics. Sprinter Nicole Yeargin has been granted eligibility to represent Scotland and is expected to make her Olympic debut.
Kent State will be represented at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials from June 18-27. Alum Reggie Jagers III will compete in the discus throw and graduate student TJ Lawson has qualified for the decathlon. Freshman Leah Pasqualetti and volunteer assistant Emily Pressley are hopeful to earn spots in the pole vault.