After the start list for Saturday’s women’s triple jump final was announced, it became obvious that another incredible battle liesahead at the Khalifa International Stadium. When two lionesseslike title holder Yulimar Rojas and two-time world champion Caterine Ibarguen are about to cross swords in the same field, predictions are hard. It also mustn’t rule out the chance for triple jump fans to set their emotions high and the twenty four–year wait to come to an end.
The 5th IAAF World Championships in Gothenburg was really generous for triple jump world records. Three days after the Briton Jonathan Edwards sailed to a fantastic 18.29m world record in the men’s final, Inessa Kravets (UKR) surprised the world with an incredible 15.50m jump to overcome the previousworld best set by Anna Biryukova by 41cm.
“I still remember my emotions from the 1995 World Championships,” Kravets says. “It was really huge. It was beautiful. It was unforgettable, but at that moment the most important thing for me was to win the title, not to set a world record. Anyway, I’m still feeling as the reigning world record holder.
“I didn’t expect to hold this record for such a long time. At the mid-90s women’s triple jump was a new and fast-growing eventand I expected results would continue to grow year by year. When I set the world record I didn’t even touch the board,playing it safe, as I had fouled in the first two rounds. My third attempt was like the moment of truth for me.
Since 1995, many triple jumpers came near to Kravets’ achievement. Greek Chrysopigi Devetzi and Russian Tatyana Lebedeva leapt 15.32 and 15.34 respectively battling for gold atthe 2004 Olympic Games. Cuban Yargelis Savigne shined in 2007 with her 15.28. Doha 2019 finalist Caterine Ibarguenlooked really amazing, when she won the Monaco Diamond League 2014 in a personal best of 15.31m. But Kravets’ world record is still standing…
“In our event even one centimetre plays a certain part – 15-20cm is a lot. Moreover, I couldn’t see in which way all these girls could’ve had further improved. Jumping over 15.20 – 15.30 wasclose to their limits,” Kravets added.
When reigning and youngest ever world champion in the women’s triple jump Yulimar Rojas leapt 15.41m at a local Spanish competition in Andujar on 6 September 2019, she moved up on the second spot of the all-time list. The 23-year-old Venezuelan became the first, who has been highly credited by Kravets.
“Yulimar Rojas is the first of all nowadays female triple jumpers, who has incredible potential. She has a perfect physical condition, high speed, really good technique and body’s structure that was created by God to be a triple jumper. Even ifwe’re very different in many things, Rojas reminds me of myself sometimes. When she jumps, it looks so easy and natural. And she is still young. I expect to see my world record to fall pretty soon.
“I am honoured to be considered by Inessa Kravets as the person who would break her world record. She was such a great athlete,” Rojas responded.
“I have been working hard with my coach Ivan Pedroso and that hard work has paid off. I have gained confidence and strength. Defending my world title is in my mind. The world record could fall here or on another day. It all depends on God and the conditions I will be in,” promised Rojas.
“I think, Rojas will win these champs,” Kravets assumed.
“It isn’t going to be easy for her, as Ibarguen is very strong mentally and a real fighter. She can jump really far if she’sturned on. Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts can surprise a lot, she was firm and confident all season. And don’t forget about the experienced Olha Saladukha from Ukraine and Kimberley Williams from Jamaica. Let’s hope that their huge experience will help them in Doha.
Although troubled by a plantar fasciitis problem earlier this season, five-time World Championships medallist and the oldest world champion ever in the women’s triple jump, CaterineIbarguen isn’t going to give up without a fight.
“I’ve been challenged this year to bring mentally my body in thebest possible shape considering my physical condition,” Ibarguen said.
“I will need to work harder mentally to do my best. I feel fine and hopefully it will show in the final.”