Caterine Ibarguen (Getty Images)
Caterine Ibarguen (Getty Images)
  • COUNTRY Colombia Colombia
  • DATE OF BIRTH 12 FEB 1984

Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.

Updated 8 September 2014

 

Caterine IBARGÜEN Mena, Colombia (Long Jump/Triple Jump)

Born 12 February 1984 in Apartadó, Antioquia

1.81m, 65Kg

Coach: Ubaldo Duany (CUB)

 

Two decades after Ximena Restrepo’s historic Olympic bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games, Caterine Ibargüen Mena has become the leading figure of athletics in Colombia after winning the Triple Jump Olympic silver medal in London and her country’s first athletics World title in Moscow.

Born in Antioquia’s sub-region of Urabá, an area that’s well known for its banana plantations, Ibargüen was raised by her grandmother Ayola Rivas after her parents broke up. Her mother Francisca worked as a cook in gold mines in Antioquia and her father William settled in neighbouring Venezuela.

She began playing volleyball before taking up athletics at the age of 12 in her hometown of Apartadó. She was then invited to move to Medellín, the capital of Antioquia, to continue training there, where more resources were available.

“My first coach was Wilder Zapata. He discovered me at my school. I began at High Jump in 1996, when I was moved to Medellín’s “Villa Deportiva” – a high performance centre.” There she began training under Cuban coach Jorge Luis Alfaro, who was also training South American record holder Gilmar Mayo, and focused on the High Jump.

 

In 1999, aged only 15, Ibargüen won her first medal at the senior South American Championships, at home in Bogotá, taking bronze with 1.76. In 2000, she continued to train with another Cuban coach, Regla Sandrino. “I guess that’s when I consolidated myself at the event,” she recalled.

A year later, she savoured her first international win at the Bolivarian Games in Ambato, Ecuador, in September and then contested the High Jump, Long Jump and Triple Jump at both the South American Junior Championships – where she medalled in each event – and at the Pan American Junior Championships – where she was second in the High Jump and a finalist in the other events.

 

In 2002, she improved in the Triple Jump, setting a national junior record of 13.38. She combined the two events and won medals in both at the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in Barbados and the CAC Games in San Salvador.

In between, she had her first global experience when she contested the Triple Jump at the World Junior Championships, in Kingston, but failed to qualify to the final.

Her focus remained on the High Jump, where in 2003 she set the national record and equalled the South American junior record with 1.86m as well as national junior record in the Long Jump with 6.18A.

She improved her record to 1.91m in 2004 to make the Colombian team for the Olympic Games in Athens at the age of 20 but did not make it past the qualifications. At the National Games at the end of the year, she also set her first national records in the Long Jump (6.42A) and Triple Jump (13.64A).

Ibargüen consolidated herself as the region’s top High Jumper as she collected two South American Junior titles (2001 and 2003) and five South American titles in a row (U23 in 2004 and 2006,  Senior in 2005-2007). In 2005, she reached her best of 1.93 and contested her first World Championships in Helsinki, but again failed to make it to the final.

The following year, she contested her first and so far only competition indoors at the World Indoor Championships in Moscow. But her results stalled and after failing to qualify to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, she felt she needed a change in her career.

 

“When I failed to qualify for the 2008 Games, I felt depressed, like I wanted to quit the sport. That’s when I move to Puerto Rico – at the end of 2008 – to study at the “Universidad Metropolitana”. The idea was to set the focus in the Triple Jump and Heptathlon, under the guidance of Ubaldo Duany.”

Cuba’s Duany, an 8.32 Long Jumper (1986) and 1989 World Indoor finalist, saw that Ibargüen’s potential in the High Jump was limited, due to how her body had changed over the years. When she obtained her scholarship to study nursing in Puerto Rico, Duany sat down to trace a plan for her, more adapted to her potential.

“I knew it would be hard to keep improving in the High Jump, as she had developed more muscular mass in her lower extremities. I figured that she would have to lose weight in order to jump higher. So, with that in mind, I understood she would do much better at Long and Triple, even with the chance of competing at high level,” recalled Duany.

 

“When I decided to move to Puerto Rico, I was determined to make the most of it. I wanted to study and work hard with Coach Duany. He knew me well, and although I had done Triple Jump before, we needed to correct the major technical mistakes I was carrying,” explained Ibargüen. “We had to start from scratch, and I used to wonder, ‘When am I going to dominate this event?’ It was pretty hard for me, but I always remained optimistic, thanks to the support of a great coach, who is very positive,” she added.

2010 marked her first tests of fire and she soon started to see progress as a Triple Jump specialist. She picked up silver behind World champion Yargelis Savigne at the Iberoamerican Championships with a national record of 14.29. A month and a half later, she added a silver medal at the Central American Games, in Puerto Rico.   “I guess those results left us (my coach and myself), much more positive for the future,” commented the young Colombian.

The stage was set for a breakthrough in 2011. In 13 finals she contested, Ibargüen improved or equalled the Colombian Triple Jump record on seven occasions, and the South American mark on four. In the process, she collected her second South American title in the event. Over a period of five months, she improved her best from 14.30 to 14.99 right before the World Championships, in Daegu.

 

In the Korean city she stayed consistent over 14.80, with a bronze-winning 14.84, to join race walker Luis Fernando López – who had also won bronze days earlier – as the first Colombians to reach the podium at the World Championships.

“I had high expectations and things went as expected. I thank God and I would like to dedicate this medal to Colombia. I have had a long career, this is my first major performance. It is never too late and I hope similar results on the global stage will follow,” said a smiling Ibargüen as she celebrated her feat.

She capped a magic season by claiming gold at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico – Colombia’s first ever medal  in a women’s field event in the Games and the first ever overall gold in field events. Thanks to all those achievements, Ibargüen was named Colombia’s sportsperson of 2011 by the national newspaper “El Espectador”.

“It was truly a great year. I felt more eager after each improvement, which was also a confirmation of the great work we were doing. And I was also thinking that I always had more margin to continue to better my marks. However, the goal for us was to improve the technique, and to reach a certain level of consistency; we weren’t just focusing on the performances. The season was great from the first until the last competition. I couldn’t have done it without the great coach I have, or without the great conditions in which we train,” she reflected.


Judging from her 2012 season, Ibargüen showed she was ready for something big at the London Olympics. At home, she improved her Long Jump national record to 6.73 and set a world leading 14.95 in her first Triple Jump competition of the year. She ended her pre-Olympic campaign with two Diamond League wins in London and Monaco (where she registered the third best mark of 2012).

Eight years after her Olympic debut, Ibargüen landed at 14.80m in the last round to give Colombia a historic silver, 20 years after Ximena Restrepo’s 400m bronze in Barcelona, the country’s first ever Olympic medal in athletics.

“This silver medal is for all Colombia. I am extremely happy for this achievement. It is the reward for many years of sacrifice, leaving Apartadó, moving to Medellín and then Puerto Rico. But I honestly believe I could have jumped farther. When I received my medal, I felt I wanted the other one (gold),” said the young jumper, who contributed to Colombia’s best ever showing at the Olympic Games,

“The competition was not easy. I had to manage my nerves, anxiety and the responsibility of representing my country,” she added.

 

In 2013, Ibargüen has continued the fine form that saw her emerge on the world scene in 2011. In the lead-up to Moscow, she remained undefeated, picking up four wins on the Diamond League circuit (in Shanghai, Eugene, Oslo and Paris) and was ranked second on the 2013 world lists with a regular 14.83 (as well as a wind-assisted 14.93).

 

“All my preparation has been focused on the World Championships. I spent two months training in Valencia, working on several technical aspects, including my speed and explosiveness. Moscow is my main goal. I hope to perform well. I will do my best and I leave it to God. If I reach 15 meters, that would be wonderful,” she said.

And history was made in Moscow. She landed at 14.85m in the second round and held off the challenge of local favourite Ekaterina Koneva (14.81) to become Colombia’s first senior World champion in athletics.

“I am extremely happy for winning Colombia’s first World title. This gold medal is a good example that we can achieve big things if we work hard for them,” said an ecstatic Ibargüen, who capped an excellent season by winning the Diamond League trophy in Brussels.

Success continued in 2014 and one of her dreams came true at the Diamond League event in Monaco, where she leapt 15.31, the longest jump by a woman since 2008, to set a new Pan American record and move to fifth place on the all-time World Lists.

 

“Everything was perfect: the competition and the rivalry pushed me to 15.31. Also the track and the weather. It was my day,” she commented on her massive jump, only 19cm shorter that Inessa Kravets’ World Record, set in 1995.

“My next goal is to break the World Record. Nothing is achieved overnight. You have to work hard, every day, to reach it. And you also need good weather, a good physical and psychological attitude.”

She continued her undefeated campaign by lifting her second Diamond League trophy in Brussels with 14.98m. She has not lost since the Olympic final on August 5, 2012.

“It is always a pleasure to win and show the world that Colombia can also produce good athletes,” she commented, also in reference to training partner and fellow countrywoman Yosiri Urrutia, who ranks fifth in the world in 2014 with a personal best of 14.58m.

Ibargüen is one of the leading athletes on Team Americas for the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, on 13-14 September. She is set to become the fifth Colombian athlete to compete in the global event and the first female to contest an individual discipline.  She returns to Morocco after competing at the World Challenge meet in 2012.

 

Ibargüen defines herself as “a fighter, persistent and friendly”. She gives a lot of credit to coaches Sandrino and Duany for her success. “Regla (Sandrino) is like a mother to me. If I have come this far is because she taught me to fight until the end. I now have another father, Ubaldo Duany. He is always there not only as a coach but also as a friend, father, and psychologist. They are special to me and have positively contributed to my development as a person and as an athlete.”

 

“Sport was a way out for me. It helps you grow as a person and it gives you the opportunity to meet many people and discover many countries. Thanks to sports, I made my first trip to Bogotá. Today, my family, my coach and representing my country are my main motivation,” she continued.

Off the track, Ibargüen finished her course at nursing school at Universidad Metropolitana in 2012. She is currently taking a master’s at the same institution.

In her free time, she enjoys dancing, especially salsa, going to the cinema and shopping. Her favourite dancer is Shakira. Among her best friends in the sport are World and Olympic 400m hurdles medallist Javier Culson of Puerto Rico and 2009 World Triple Jump Silver medallist Mabel Gay of Cuba.

 

Personal Bests

200m- 24.96 (2009)

800m- 2:41.53 (2009

100m hurdles- 14.09 (2011)

High Jump- 1.93 NR (2005)

Long jump- 6.73A NR (2012)

Triple jump- 15.31 AR (2014)

Shot Put- 13.71A (2008)

Javelin- 44.81 (2009)

Heptathlon- 5742 (2009)


 

Yearly Progression

High Jump: 1999-1.76A; 2000- -; 2001-1.79A, 2002-1.81A, 2003-1.86A AJR, 2004-1.91 NR, 2005-1.93 NR, 2006-1.90A, 2007-1.87, 2008-1.88A, 2009-1.88A, 2010-1.80, 2011-1.85; 2012-1.74

Long Jump: 2001-5.87; 2002-6.08A, 2003-6.18A NJR, 2004-6.42A NR, 2005-6.54A NR, 2006-6.49A/6.52Aw, 2007-6.22/6.23w, 2008-6.54A ENR, 2009-6.41A, 2010-6.29A/6.34w, 2011-6.63A NR, 2012-6.73A NR/6.87W

Triple Jump: 2001-12.90; 2002-13.38A NJR, 2003-13.23A, 2004-13.64A NR, 2005-13.66A NR, 2006-13.91A NR/13.98Aw, 2007-12.66A, 2008-13.79A, 2009-13.96 A NR, 2010-14.29 NR, 2011-14.99A AR, 2012-14.95A; 2013-14.85/14.93w, 2014-15.31 AR

 

Career Highlights

1999

3rd

South American Championships, Bogotá

(High Jump)

1.76A

2001

1st

Bolivarian Games, Ambato

(High Jump)

  1.79A

2001

1st

South American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(High Jump)

  1.77

2001

2nd

South American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(Long Jump)

  5.87

2001

3rd 

South American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(Triple Jump)

12.65

2001

2nd

Pan American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(High Jump)

  1.77

2001

6th 

Pan American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(Long Jump)

5.70

2001

4th  

Pan American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(Triple Jump)

12.90

2002

2nd

Central American and Caribbean Junior Ch., Bridgetown

(High Jump)

  1.79

2002

3rd

Central American and Caribbean Junior Ch., Bridgetown

(Triple Jump)

13.01

2002

q

World Junior Championships, Kingston

(Triple Jump)

12.69

2002

3rd

Central American and Caribbean Games, San Salvador

(High Jump)

  1.79

2002

3rd

Central American and Caribbean Games, San Salvador

(Triple Jump)

13.17

2003

1st

South American Junior Championships, Guayaquil

(High Jump)

  1.80

2003

1st

South American Junior Championships, Guayaquil

(Triple Jump)

13.05

2003

4th

South American Championships, Barquisimeto

(High Jump)

  1.79

2003

2nd

South American Championships, Barquisimeto

(Long Jump)

  6.04

2003

3rd

South American Championships, Barquisimeto

(Triple Jump)

13.07

2003

4th 

Pan American Junior Championships, Bridgetown

(High Jump)

  1.81

2003

4th 

Pan American Junior Championships, Bridgetown

(Triple Jump)

12.64

2004

1st

South American U23 Championships, Barquisimeto

(High Jump)

  1.91

2004

2nd 

South American U23 Championships, Barquisimeto

(Long Jump)

  6.05

2004

3rd

Iberoamerican Championships, Huelva

(High Jump)

  1.88

2004

q

Olympic Games, Athens

(High Jump)

1.85

2005

1st

South American Championships, Cali

(High Jump)

  1.93

2005

3rd

South American Championships, Cali

(Long Jump)

  6.30

2005

3rd

South American Championships, Cali

(Triple Jump)

13.59

2005

q

World Championships, Helsinki

(High Jump)

  1.84

2005

1st

Bolivarian Games, Armenia

(High Jump)

  1.91A

2005

1st

Bolivarian Games, Armenia

(Long Jump)

  6.54A

2005

1st

Bolivarian Games, Armenia

(Triple Jump)

13.64A

2006

q

World Indoor Championships, Moscow

(High Jump)

  1.81

2006

2nd

Central American and Caribbean Games, Cartagena

(High Jump)

  1.88

2006

1st

South American Championships, Tunja

(High Jump)

  1.90A

2006

2nd

South American Championships, Tunja

(Long Jump)

  6.51A

2006

2nd

South American Championships, Tunja

(Triple Jump)

13.91A

2006

2nd

South American U23 Championships, Buenos Aires

(High Jump)

   1.85

2006

1st

South American U23 Championships, Buenos Aires

(Long Jump)

  6.32

2006

2nd

South American U23 Championships, Buenos Aires

(Triple Jump)

13.26

2007

1st

South American Championships, Medellín

(High Jump)

  1.84

2007

3rd

South American Championships, Medellín

(Long Jump)

  6.18

2007

4th

Pan American Games, Rio de Janeiro

(High Jump)

 1.87

2008

2nd

Iberoamerican Championships, Iquique

(High Jump)

  1.85

2008

2nd

Central American and Caribbean Championships, Cali

(High Jump)

  1.88A

2008

6th

Central American and Caribbean Championships, Cali

(Triple Jump)

13.04A

2009

1st

South American Championships, Lima

(High Jump)

  1.88A

2009

1st

South American Championships, Lima

(Triple Jump)

13.93A

2009

1st

Bolivarian Games, Sucre

(High Jump)

  1.80A

2009

1st

Bolivarian Games, Sucre

(Long Jump)

  6.32A

2009

2nd

Bolivarian Games, Sucre

(Triple Jump)

13.96A

2010

2nd

Iberoamerican Championships, San Fernando

(Triple Jump)

14.29

2010

4th

Central American and Caribbean Games Mayagüez

(Long Jump)

  6.29

2010

2nd

Central American and Caribbean Games Mayagüez

(Triple Jump)

14.10

2011

3rd

South American Championships, Buenos Aires

(Long Jump)

  6.45

2011

1st

South American Championships, Buenos Aires

(Triple Jump)

14.59

2011

3rd

World Championships, Daegu

(Triple Jump)

14.84

2011

3rd

Pan American Games, Guadalajara

(Long Jump)

  6.63A

2011

1st

Pan American Games, Guadalajara

(Triple Jump)

14.92A

2012

2nd

Olympic Games

(Triple Jump)

14.80

2013

1st

World Championships, Moscow

(Triple Jump)

14.85

2013

1st

Diamond League Race

(Triple Jump)

 

2014

1st

Diamond League Race

(Triple Jump)

 

 

Prepared by Javier Clavelo and Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. © IAAF 2012-2014

 


Personal Best - Outdoor
Performance Wind Place Date
High Jump 1.93 Cali 22 JUL 2005
Long Jump 6.73 +1.8 Bogotá 30 JUN 2012
Triple Jump 15.31 0.0 Monaco 18 JUL 2014
Heptathlon 5742 San Germán 05 DEC 2009
Personal Best - Indoor
Performance Wind Place Date
High Jump 1.81 Moskva (Olimpiyskiy Stadion) 11 MAR 2006
Progression - Outdoor showShow All Graphs
High Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2011 1.85 Ponce 15 APR
2009 1.88 Lima 20 JUN
2008 1.88 Uberlândia 11 MAY
2008 1.88 Medellín 26 APR
2007 1.87 Rio de Janeiro 25 JUL
2006 1.90 Tunja 01 OCT
2005 1.93 Cali 22 JUL
2004 1.91 Barquisimeto 27 JUN
2003 1.86 Medellín 26 JUL
2002 1.81 Medellín 12 OCT
2001 1.79 Ambato 13 SEP
1999 1.65 Bydgoszcz 16 JUL
Long Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2013 6.54 Cali 22 JUN
2012 6.73 +1.8 Bogotá 30 JUN
2011 6.63 +1.6 Guadalajara, MEX 26 OCT
2009 6.41 +0.2 Bogotá 23 MAY
2008 6.54 +1.5 Bogotá 19 JUL
2006 6.49 +1.7 Bogotá 15 JUL
2005 6.54 +0.7 Armenia 20 AUG
2004 6.42 +1.4 Bogotá 05 DEC
2003 6.18 Bogotá 13 JUL
Triple Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2014 15.31 0.0 Monaco 18 JUL
2013 14.85 +0.2 Moskva (Luzhniki) 15 AUG
2012 14.95 +0.9 Medellín 28 APR
2011 14.99 +1.7 Bogotá 13 AUG
2010 14.29 +2.0 San Fernando 05 JUN
2009 13.96 -0.3 Sucre 24 NOV
2008 13.79 +0.7 Bogotá 19 JUL
2006 13.91 -0.9 Tunja 29 SEP
2005 13.66 -0.8 Bogotá 02 JUL
2004 13.64 -1.0 Bogotá 03 DEC
2003 13.71 Medellín 04 MAY
2002 13.38 Bogotá 30 JUN
2001 12.90 -1.2 Medellín 23 SEP
Heptathlon Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2010 5633 San Germán 04 DEC
2009 5742 San Germán 05 DEC
Progression - Indoor showShow All Graphs
High Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2006 1.81 Moskva (Olimpiyskiy Stadion) 11 MAR
Honours - High Jump
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 15q1 1.85 Berlin 18 AUG 2009
11th IAAF World Indoor Championships 17q1 1.81 Moskva (Olimpiyskiy Stadion) 11 MAR 2006
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 11q1 1.84 Helsinki 06 AUG 2005
28th Olympic Games 16q2 1.85 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 26 AUG 2004
1st IAAF World Youth Championships 15q1 1.65 Bydgoszcz 16 JUL 1999
Honours - Long Jump
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXX Olympic Games q2 DNS London (OP) 07 AUG 2012
Honours - Triple Jump
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
IAAF Continental Cup 2014 1 14.52 -0.5 Marrakech (Le Grande Stade) 13 SEP 2014
14th IAAF World Championships 1 14.85 +0.2 Moskva (Luzhniki) 15 AUG 2013
The XXX Olympic Games 2 14.80 +0.4 London (OP) 05 AUG 2012
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 3 14.84 +0.4 Daegu 01 SEP 2011
IAAF/Coca Cola World Junior Championships 9q1 12.69 +0.6 Kingston, JAM 16 JUL 2002

Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.

Updated 8 September 2014

 

Caterine IBARGÜEN Mena, Colombia (Long Jump/Triple Jump)

Born 12 February 1984 in Apartadó, Antioquia

1.81m, 65Kg

Coach: Ubaldo Duany (CUB)

 

Two decades after Ximena Restrepo’s historic Olympic bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games, Caterine Ibargüen Mena has become the leading figure of athletics in Colombia after winning the Triple Jump Olympic silver medal in London and her country’s first athletics World title in Moscow.

Born in Antioquia’s sub-region of Urabá, an area that’s well known for its banana plantations, Ibargüen was raised by her grandmother Ayola Rivas after her parents broke up. Her mother Francisca worked as a cook in gold mines in Antioquia and her father William settled in neighbouring Venezuela.

She began playing volleyball before taking up athletics at the age of 12 in her hometown of Apartadó. She was then invited to move to Medellín, the capital of Antioquia, to continue training there, where more resources were available.

“My first coach was Wilder Zapata. He discovered me at my school. I began at High Jump in 1996, when I was moved to Medellín’s “Villa Deportiva” – a high performance centre.” There she began training under Cuban coach Jorge Luis Alfaro, who was also training South American record holder Gilmar Mayo, and focused on the High Jump.

 

In 1999, aged only 15, Ibargüen won her first medal at the senior South American Championships, at home in Bogotá, taking bronze with 1.76. In 2000, she continued to train with another Cuban coach, Regla Sandrino. “I guess that’s when I consolidated myself at the event,” she recalled.

A year later, she savoured her first international win at the Bolivarian Games in Ambato, Ecuador, in September and then contested the High Jump, Long Jump and Triple Jump at both the South American Junior Championships – where she medalled in each event – and at the Pan American Junior Championships – where she was second in the High Jump and a finalist in the other events.

 

In 2002, she improved in the Triple Jump, setting a national junior record of 13.38. She combined the two events and won medals in both at the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in Barbados and the CAC Games in San Salvador.

In between, she had her first global experience when she contested the Triple Jump at the World Junior Championships, in Kingston, but failed to qualify to the final.

Her focus remained on the High Jump, where in 2003 she set the national record and equalled the South American junior record with 1.86m as well as national junior record in the Long Jump with 6.18A.

She improved her record to 1.91m in 2004 to make the Colombian team for the Olympic Games in Athens at the age of 20 but did not make it past the qualifications. At the National Games at the end of the year, she also set her first national records in the Long Jump (6.42A) and Triple Jump (13.64A).

Ibargüen consolidated herself as the region’s top High Jumper as she collected two South American Junior titles (2001 and 2003) and five South American titles in a row (U23 in 2004 and 2006,  Senior in 2005-2007). In 2005, she reached her best of 1.93 and contested her first World Championships in Helsinki, but again failed to make it to the final.

The following year, she contested her first and so far only competition indoors at the World Indoor Championships in Moscow. But her results stalled and after failing to qualify to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, she felt she needed a change in her career.

 

“When I failed to qualify for the 2008 Games, I felt depressed, like I wanted to quit the sport. That’s when I move to Puerto Rico – at the end of 2008 – to study at the “Universidad Metropolitana”. The idea was to set the focus in the Triple Jump and Heptathlon, under the guidance of Ubaldo Duany.”

Cuba’s Duany, an 8.32 Long Jumper (1986) and 1989 World Indoor finalist, saw that Ibargüen’s potential in the High Jump was limited, due to how her body had changed over the years. When she obtained her scholarship to study nursing in Puerto Rico, Duany sat down to trace a plan for her, more adapted to her potential.

“I knew it would be hard to keep improving in the High Jump, as she had developed more muscular mass in her lower extremities. I figured that she would have to lose weight in order to jump higher. So, with that in mind, I understood she would do much better at Long and Triple, even with the chance of competing at high level,” recalled Duany.

 

“When I decided to move to Puerto Rico, I was determined to make the most of it. I wanted to study and work hard with Coach Duany. He knew me well, and although I had done Triple Jump before, we needed to correct the major technical mistakes I was carrying,” explained Ibargüen. “We had to start from scratch, and I used to wonder, ‘When am I going to dominate this event?’ It was pretty hard for me, but I always remained optimistic, thanks to the support of a great coach, who is very positive,” she added.

2010 marked her first tests of fire and she soon started to see progress as a Triple Jump specialist. She picked up silver behind World champion Yargelis Savigne at the Iberoamerican Championships with a national record of 14.29. A month and a half later, she added a silver medal at the Central American Games, in Puerto Rico.   “I guess those results left us (my coach and myself), much more positive for the future,” commented the young Colombian.

The stage was set for a breakthrough in 2011. In 13 finals she contested, Ibargüen improved or equalled the Colombian Triple Jump record on seven occasions, and the South American mark on four. In the process, she collected her second South American title in the event. Over a period of five months, she improved her best from 14.30 to 14.99 right before the World Championships, in Daegu.

 

In the Korean city she stayed consistent over 14.80, with a bronze-winning 14.84, to join race walker Luis Fernando López – who had also won bronze days earlier – as the first Colombians to reach the podium at the World Championships.

“I had high expectations and things went as expected. I thank God and I would like to dedicate this medal to Colombia. I have had a long career, this is my first major performance. It is never too late and I hope similar results on the global stage will follow,” said a smiling Ibargüen as she celebrated her feat.

She capped a magic season by claiming gold at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico – Colombia’s first ever medal  in a women’s field event in the Games and the first ever overall gold in field events. Thanks to all those achievements, Ibargüen was named Colombia’s sportsperson of 2011 by the national newspaper “El Espectador”.

“It was truly a great year. I felt more eager after each improvement, which was also a confirmation of the great work we were doing. And I was also thinking that I always had more margin to continue to better my marks. However, the goal for us was to improve the technique, and to reach a certain level of consistency; we weren’t just focusing on the performances. The season was great from the first until the last competition. I couldn’t have done it without the great coach I have, or without the great conditions in which we train,” she reflected.


Judging from her 2012 season, Ibargüen showed she was ready for something big at the London Olympics. At home, she improved her Long Jump national record to 6.73 and set a world leading 14.95 in her first Triple Jump competition of the year. She ended her pre-Olympic campaign with two Diamond League wins in London and Monaco (where she registered the third best mark of 2012).

Eight years after her Olympic debut, Ibargüen landed at 14.80m in the last round to give Colombia a historic silver, 20 years after Ximena Restrepo’s 400m bronze in Barcelona, the country’s first ever Olympic medal in athletics.

“This silver medal is for all Colombia. I am extremely happy for this achievement. It is the reward for many years of sacrifice, leaving Apartadó, moving to Medellín and then Puerto Rico. But I honestly believe I could have jumped farther. When I received my medal, I felt I wanted the other one (gold),” said the young jumper, who contributed to Colombia’s best ever showing at the Olympic Games,

“The competition was not easy. I had to manage my nerves, anxiety and the responsibility of representing my country,” she added.

 

In 2013, Ibargüen has continued the fine form that saw her emerge on the world scene in 2011. In the lead-up to Moscow, she remained undefeated, picking up four wins on the Diamond League circuit (in Shanghai, Eugene, Oslo and Paris) and was ranked second on the 2013 world lists with a regular 14.83 (as well as a wind-assisted 14.93).

 

“All my preparation has been focused on the World Championships. I spent two months training in Valencia, working on several technical aspects, including my speed and explosiveness. Moscow is my main goal. I hope to perform well. I will do my best and I leave it to God. If I reach 15 meters, that would be wonderful,” she said.

And history was made in Moscow. She landed at 14.85m in the second round and held off the challenge of local favourite Ekaterina Koneva (14.81) to become Colombia’s first senior World champion in athletics.

“I am extremely happy for winning Colombia’s first World title. This gold medal is a good example that we can achieve big things if we work hard for them,” said an ecstatic Ibargüen, who capped an excellent season by winning the Diamond League trophy in Brussels.

Success continued in 2014 and one of her dreams came true at the Diamond League event in Monaco, where she leapt 15.31, the longest jump by a woman since 2008, to set a new Pan American record and move to fifth place on the all-time World Lists.

 

“Everything was perfect: the competition and the rivalry pushed me to 15.31. Also the track and the weather. It was my day,” she commented on her massive jump, only 19cm shorter that Inessa Kravets’ World Record, set in 1995.

“My next goal is to break the World Record. Nothing is achieved overnight. You have to work hard, every day, to reach it. And you also need good weather, a good physical and psychological attitude.”

She continued her undefeated campaign by lifting her second Diamond League trophy in Brussels with 14.98m. She has not lost since the Olympic final on August 5, 2012.

“It is always a pleasure to win and show the world that Colombia can also produce good athletes,” she commented, also in reference to training partner and fellow countrywoman Yosiri Urrutia, who ranks fifth in the world in 2014 with a personal best of 14.58m.

Ibargüen is one of the leading athletes on Team Americas for the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, on 13-14 September. She is set to become the fifth Colombian athlete to compete in the global event and the first female to contest an individual discipline.  She returns to Morocco after competing at the World Challenge meet in 2012.

 

Ibargüen defines herself as “a fighter, persistent and friendly”. She gives a lot of credit to coaches Sandrino and Duany for her success. “Regla (Sandrino) is like a mother to me. If I have come this far is because she taught me to fight until the end. I now have another father, Ubaldo Duany. He is always there not only as a coach but also as a friend, father, and psychologist. They are special to me and have positively contributed to my development as a person and as an athlete.”

 

“Sport was a way out for me. It helps you grow as a person and it gives you the opportunity to meet many people and discover many countries. Thanks to sports, I made my first trip to Bogotá. Today, my family, my coach and representing my country are my main motivation,” she continued.

Off the track, Ibargüen finished her course at nursing school at Universidad Metropolitana in 2012. She is currently taking a master’s at the same institution.

In her free time, she enjoys dancing, especially salsa, going to the cinema and shopping. Her favourite dancer is Shakira. Among her best friends in the sport are World and Olympic 400m hurdles medallist Javier Culson of Puerto Rico and 2009 World Triple Jump Silver medallist Mabel Gay of Cuba.

 

Personal Bests

200m- 24.96 (2009)

800m- 2:41.53 (2009

100m hurdles- 14.09 (2011)

High Jump- 1.93 NR (2005)

Long jump- 6.73A NR (2012)

Triple jump- 15.31 AR (2014)

Shot Put- 13.71A (2008)

Javelin- 44.81 (2009)

Heptathlon- 5742 (2009)


 

Yearly Progression

High Jump: 1999-1.76A; 2000- -; 2001-1.79A, 2002-1.81A, 2003-1.86A AJR, 2004-1.91 NR, 2005-1.93 NR, 2006-1.90A, 2007-1.87, 2008-1.88A, 2009-1.88A, 2010-1.80, 2011-1.85; 2012-1.74

Long Jump: 2001-5.87; 2002-6.08A, 2003-6.18A NJR, 2004-6.42A NR, 2005-6.54A NR, 2006-6.49A/6.52Aw, 2007-6.22/6.23w, 2008-6.54A ENR, 2009-6.41A, 2010-6.29A/6.34w, 2011-6.63A NR, 2012-6.73A NR/6.87W

Triple Jump: 2001-12.90; 2002-13.38A NJR, 2003-13.23A, 2004-13.64A NR, 2005-13.66A NR, 2006-13.91A NR/13.98Aw, 2007-12.66A, 2008-13.79A, 2009-13.96 A NR, 2010-14.29 NR, 2011-14.99A AR, 2012-14.95A; 2013-14.85/14.93w, 2014-15.31 AR

 

Career Highlights

1999

3rd

South American Championships, Bogotá

(High Jump)

1.76A

2001

1st

Bolivarian Games, Ambato

(High Jump)

  1.79A

2001

1st

South American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(High Jump)

  1.77

2001

2nd

South American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(Long Jump)

  5.87

2001

3rd 

South American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(Triple Jump)

12.65

2001

2nd

Pan American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(High Jump)

  1.77

2001

6th 

Pan American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(Long Jump)

5.70

2001

4th  

Pan American Junior Championships, Santa Fe

(Triple Jump)

12.90

2002

2nd

Central American and Caribbean Junior Ch., Bridgetown

(High Jump)

  1.79

2002

3rd

Central American and Caribbean Junior Ch., Bridgetown

(Triple Jump)

13.01

2002

q

World Junior Championships, Kingston

(Triple Jump)

12.69

2002

3rd

Central American and Caribbean Games, San Salvador

(High Jump)

  1.79

2002

3rd

Central American and Caribbean Games, San Salvador

(Triple Jump)

13.17

2003

1st

South American Junior Championships, Guayaquil

(High Jump)

  1.80

2003

1st

South American Junior Championships, Guayaquil

(Triple Jump)

13.05

2003

4th

South American Championships, Barquisimeto

(High Jump)

  1.79

2003

2nd

South American Championships, Barquisimeto

(Long Jump)

  6.04

2003

3rd

South American Championships, Barquisimeto

(Triple Jump)

13.07

2003

4th 

Pan American Junior Championships, Bridgetown

(High Jump)

  1.81

2003

4th 

Pan American Junior Championships, Bridgetown

(Triple Jump)

12.64

2004

1st

South American U23 Championships, Barquisimeto

(High Jump)

  1.91

2004

2nd 

South American U23 Championships, Barquisimeto

(Long Jump)

  6.05

2004

3rd

Iberoamerican Championships, Huelva

(High Jump)

  1.88

2004

q

Olympic Games, Athens

(High Jump)

1.85

2005

1st

South American Championships, Cali

(High Jump)

  1.93

2005

3rd

South American Championships, Cali

(Long Jump)

  6.30

2005

3rd

South American Championships, Cali

(Triple Jump)

13.59

2005

q

World Championships, Helsinki

(High Jump)

  1.84

2005

1st

Bolivarian Games, Armenia

(High Jump)

  1.91A

2005

1st

Bolivarian Games, Armenia

(Long Jump)

  6.54A

2005

1st

Bolivarian Games, Armenia

(Triple Jump)

13.64A

2006

q

World Indoor Championships, Moscow

(High Jump)

  1.81

2006

2nd

Central American and Caribbean Games, Cartagena

(High Jump)

  1.88

2006

1st

South American Championships, Tunja

(High Jump)

  1.90A

2006

2nd

South American Championships, Tunja

(Long Jump)

  6.51A

2006

2nd

South American Championships, Tunja

(Triple Jump)

13.91A

2006

2nd

South American U23 Championships, Buenos Aires

(High Jump)

   1.85

2006

1st

South American U23 Championships, Buenos Aires

(Long Jump)

  6.32

2006

2nd

South American U23 Championships, Buenos Aires

(Triple Jump)

13.26

2007

1st

South American Championships, Medellín

(High Jump)

  1.84

2007

3rd

South American Championships, Medellín

(Long Jump)

  6.18

2007

4th

Pan American Games, Rio de Janeiro

(High Jump)

 1.87

2008

2nd

Iberoamerican Championships, Iquique

(High Jump)

  1.85

2008

2nd

Central American and Caribbean Championships, Cali

(High Jump)

  1.88A

2008

6th

Central American and Caribbean Championships, Cali

(Triple Jump)

13.04A

2009

1st

South American Championships, Lima

(High Jump)

  1.88A

2009

1st

South American Championships, Lima

(Triple Jump)

13.93A

2009

1st

Bolivarian Games, Sucre

(High Jump)

  1.80A

2009

1st

Bolivarian Games, Sucre

(Long Jump)

  6.32A

2009

2nd

Bolivarian Games, Sucre

(Triple Jump)

13.96A

2010

2nd

Iberoamerican Championships, San Fernando

(Triple Jump)

14.29

2010

4th

Central American and Caribbean Games Mayagüez

(Long Jump)

  6.29

2010

2nd

Central American and Caribbean Games Mayagüez

(Triple Jump)

14.10

2011

3rd

South American Championships, Buenos Aires

(Long Jump)

  6.45

2011

1st

South American Championships, Buenos Aires

(Triple Jump)

14.59

2011

3rd

World Championships, Daegu

(Triple Jump)

14.84

2011

3rd

Pan American Games, Guadalajara

(Long Jump)

  6.63A

2011

1st

Pan American Games, Guadalajara

(Triple Jump)

14.92A

2012

2nd

Olympic Games

(Triple Jump)

14.80

2013

1st

World Championships, Moscow

(Triple Jump)

14.85

2013

1st

Diamond League Race

(Triple Jump)

 

2014

1st

Diamond League Race

(Triple Jump)

 

 

Prepared by Javier Clavelo and Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. © IAAF 2012-2014