Shanieka Ricketts expected to mount gold-medal challenge in Doha

By September 23, 2019
Jamaica's Shanieka Ricketts Jamaica's Shanieka Ricketts

When it comes to the triple jump there were two women who stood head and shoulders over everybody, now there are three.

Shanieka Ricketts has emerged this season as a serious medal contender in the triple jump and should be one of the three to take home silverware from Doha in Qatar.

This season, Ricketts has taken her personal best from 14.61 metres to 14.93 metres when she won the Diamond League trophy last month.

But more than just having those one-off leaps, Ricketts has maintained a level of consistency she hasn’t in seasons past, landing in the sand at more than 14.5 metres with some regularity.

That movement means Ricketts can challenge the relative dominance of Yulimar Rojas and the potential comeback of Caterine Ibarguen.

In truth, Rojas stands on her own if she’s really feeling it.

Only one woman, world record-holder Inessa Kravets, has ever triple jumped farther. Considering the company the 23-year-old Venezuelan is now keeping on the world all-time list, she'll be difficult to stop as she seeks to successfully defend her title and join Caterine Ibarguen, Yargelis Savigne and Tatyana Lebedeva as a two-time (and back-to-back) world champion.

Rojas has won six of her eight outdoor competitions this year, sailing beyond 15 metres in half of them. Her most impressive performance came in her most recent outing when she bound to 15.41m in Andujar, Spain, on 6 September, the second farthest leap of all time. She went beyond 15 metres twice in that competition, shaking out the rust out with a 15.03m effort in the second round.

Rojas has struggled with her consistency in the past, but has improved on that front as well this season, adding to the difficulty her competitors can expect in Doha.

She has lost twice this season, once to Ibarguen, whom she succeeded as world champion in London two years ago, and to Jamaican champion Shanieka Ricketts at the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich. Both have the capabilities to throw serious challenges at the Venezuelan.

Ibarguen, the 2018 World Athlete of the Year, has competed sparingly, choosing to divide her attentions between the long and triple jumps, competing four times in each. She reached 14.79m in Oslo and a season's best of 14.89m in Lausanne to secure a pair of Diamond League circuit victories, but she hasn't contested the triple jump since 11 July when she finished a distant sixth in the port-side competition in Monaco, reaching just 14.33m. But considering her war chest of medals, we can expect she'll arrive in Doha ready.

After the season's big three, others will have to spring a fairly big surprise to figure in the medal hunt.

Leading that charge is rising Cuban star Liadagmis Povea who improved her lifetime best to 14.77m to finish third in Lausanne. She also finished second in Monaco with 14.71m and third at the Pan-American Games and the Diamond League final.

US champion Keturah Orji improved her career best to 14.72m to finish third in Paris but more recently was a distant fourth in Zurich.

Spain's world indoor bronze medallist Ana Peleteiro leads the European charge. But the 23-year-old will need to do considerably better than her 14.59m season's best to challenge for the podium. Likewise for Jamaican Kimberly Williams, the world indoor silver medallist and finalist at this championships in 2013, 2015 and 2017, who has reached 14.56m this season.

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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