Junior NCAA silver medalist Damar Forbes earned the title of Olympian after claiming the men's long jump title on Saturday at the 2012 Jamaican National Senior Championships as he jumped a winning 25 feet, 10 ¾ inches during the fifth round in the event held at the National Stadium.
Forbes captured his first Jamaican long jump championship to earn his ticket to the 2012 Olympic Games as the athletics competition will be held from Aug. 3-12 in London, England.
He proved to be the class of the field on Saturday night as Jermaine Jackson finished runner-up with a top mark of 25-5 ½ and former Nebraska All-American Nicholas Gordon took third with a best of 24-4 ½.
Forbes has secured his trip to London as he has eclipsed the Olympic "A" qualifying standard with his PR of 27-0 set in a silver-medal winning runner-up finish in the long jump final at the 2011 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. His personal-best performance also earned Forbes a berth into the World Championships last summer where he finished in 18th place in qualification.
A native of Kingston and product of Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in Decatur, Ga., Forbes has won the silver medal in the long jump in each of his last three appearances at the NCAA Championships. After winning the NCAA Outdoor silver medal in 2011, he swept NCAA silver medals in 2012.
Forbes becomes the eighth member of the LSU Track & Field program to earn an Olympic berth this year as he joins fellow Jamaican Nickiesha Wilson (400 hurdles), as well as Ade Alleyne-Forte (4x400 relay), Kelly-Ann Baptiste (100 meters, 4x100 relay), Semoy Hackett (100 meters, 200 meters, 4x100 relay), and Richard Thompson (100 meters, 4x100 relay) of Trinidad & Tobago; Lolo Jones (100 hurdles) of the U.S. and Neisha Bernard-Thomas (800 meters) of the country of Grenada.
Two LSU Track & Field athletes also advanced to championship finals in Kingston on Saturday as former Lady Tiger Samantha Henry-Robinson and Tiger senior Riker Hylton each set seasonal bests.
Hylton, who is the reigning Jamaican 400-meter champion, will have an opportunity to defend his gold on Sunday afternoon after earning a third-place finish in the first of three semifinal heats with a seasonal best of 45.36 seconds. That was the fifth-fastest time of the semifinal round while shattering his previous 2012 seasonal best of 45.89 set in the NCAA quarterfinal in Jacksonville, Fla., on May 25.
Henry-Robinson also set a new season's best when she finished runner-up in the first semifinal heat of the women's 200-meter dash after crossing the finish line in 22.83 (+1.6). Defending Olympics gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown won the heat with her semifinal time of 22.79.
After clocking a wind-legal PR of 11.11 for sixth place in Friday's 100-meter dash final, Henry-Robinson ran her fastest 200 meters since a 22.83 at the 2009 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships.
In addition, future Lady Tiger Natoya Goule earned a fourth-place finish in the women's 800-meters final after running 2 minutes, 4.76 seconds. One of the jewels of LSU's Class of 2012, Goule crossed the finish line behind Kenia Sinclair (2:01.55), Althea Chambers (2:03.40) and Kimarra McDonald (2:03.50) during the final. Goule set her lifetime PR of 2:01.45 to win the Jamaican silver medal in 2011.
Lady Tiger senior Jonique Day also stepped onto the track for Saturday's semifinal action in the women's 400-meter dash as she crossed the finish line in fourth place in the first heat with a time of 52.80. She was unable to advance to Sunday's final after clocking the 10th-fastest time of the day.