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Sands To 'Unleash The Beast' In Final

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Leevan Sands bounds an automatic qualifying mark of 56-4 (17.17m) in the mens triple jump quallifying during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

LONDON, England — Leevan ‘Superman’ Sands said his mission in Tuesday’s qualifying round was a simple one: Take one jump and get ready to “unleash the beast” in the men’s triple jump final on Thursday.

After watching his cousin Shamar Sands’ bid go down near the end of his heat in the men’s 110 metres hurdles first round on Tuesday, the bronze medallist in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China made it so easy when he popped an opening leap of 17.17 metres or 56-feet, 4-inches to become the first automatic qualifier over the 17.10m (56-1 1/4) mark.

He ended up second on the list after American Christian Taylor surpassed him with a leap of 17.21m (56-5 3/4), much to the delight of his family - wife Danielle and parents Elaine and Leevan Sr - in the stands at the National Stadium cheering for him.

“Clarke Kent is dead, so I had to bring out Superman today,” Sands jokingly said to the media. “But I just want to thank God. It was all him to bring me through today. That was the plan. I asked him to give me just one jump like last year and it happened again this year. I just thank him.”

The whole idea competing today, he said, was to get into the final.

“I’m happy that I’m in the final,” he said. “I’m going to go from there. I’m going to unleash the beast.”

The final is set for Thursday night and Sands said it would be a pre-31st birthday (August 16) present if he can duplicate the feat of 2008 in Beijing, China when he won the first medal for the Bahamas, followed by the silver in the men’s 4 x 400 metre relay team.

“Even though I made top 12, I still have to make top eight,” he said. “So I just have to pop a big jump early so I can be in the back. That’s the key. Once you’re in the back, there’s nobody after you to jump. So that’s my plan.”

Sands, who briefly left the Games Village for one last treatment with a doctor in Germany, said his knees are not 100 per cent. But this is the Olympics and he has to put it all behind him and concentrate on the final now.

“Once I still running, I will be okay,” he said.

As he was warming up to compete, Sands watched as Shamar Sands tipped the seventh hurdle and wasn’t able to complete his first round appearance in the heats of the men’s 110 hurdles on the other side of the track.

“I watched Shamar fall over the hurdle. It made me extra hyped to go out there and give it my all for my first jump,” he said.

On the field he will face in the final, minus Phillips Idowu, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist from Great Britain, Sands said it’s going to be intense, but as his father proudly reiterated, he’s going to “unleash the beast” on Thursday.

Sands is the only medallist to be back in the final since Beijing. Gold medallist Nelson Evora was not entered.

From Beijing to London via the Bahamas, Sands will once again have the support of his family in the stands.

“That was our strategy,” said the elder Sands about his son’s performance. “I told him to try and qualify on his first jump and put the pressure on everybody else. Then we can relax and get ready to unleash the beast in the final.

“We are going to change Nassau. Nassau won’t be the same anymore. He’s in the final. He’s ready.”

And his mother, Elaine, sent a special thanks to all those persons in the Bahamas who have been “praying and sending their best wishes” to her son. “Thank God he’s made it to the final. What a great God.”

His wife, Danielle, and coach Henry Rolle reserved comments until after the final.

No doubt, the Sands intend to have their own family celebration here on Thursday.

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