28 JUL 2012 Preview

Women's Long Jump - PREVIEW

Brittney Reese sailing to a 7.15m world lead in Eugene (Getty Images)Brittney Reese sailing to a 7.15m world lead in Eugene (Getty Images) © Copyright
With eight Long Jump contenders having cleared seven metres this summer ranging from Brittney Reese's world lead of 7.15m to Veronika Shutkova's 7.01m a much higher class of competition is anticipated than at last year's World Championships.

In Daegu, Reese of the USA on a day when the wind constantly shifted defended her title with a first round clearance of 6.82m - the shortest winning jump in Championships history, ahead of Olga Kucherenko and a surprise bronze medallist Ineta Radevica from Latvia.

Reese after finishing fifth at the Beijing Games and her World 2009 and 2011 successes Berlin and Korea, will be aiming to stamp her authority once again over her rivals and lift the most important gold medal to follow in the footsteps of the last American champion, the legendary Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988.

Amidst the wide range of contenders there will be Maurren Maggi who having won the first Olympic medal by a Brazilian woman with her victory four years ago will despite her 11th placing in Daegu and a season's best of 6.85m, be aiming to add another to her collection.

Blessing Okagbare, the 2008 bronze medallist, may be a much better candidate to destroy the threat of Reese. The Nigerian is currently in brilliant 100m form and a candidate for a top three finish in that event but also has a 6.97m Long Jump season's best to her name.

Okagbare who only recently decided to double and with the extra speed now in her legs on the runway could lift herself much further than the personal best 6.91m she posted as a 19-year-old in Beijing.

Russia's Kucherenko whose lifetime furthest is 7.13m two years ago although only having cleared 7.03m this season still looks the likeliest major threat to Reese while the form of Radevica is more uncertain.

The 2010 European champion who studied in the United States has had only a handful of competitions including losing her Area title in Helsinki when finishing sixth. She will bring to London a season's best of 6.64m.

More likely to take her place in the medal frame will be Team USA jumpers Chelsea Hayes (7.10m) and Jannay DeLoach (7.03m) along with the Russian duo of Anna Nazarova who has leapt out to 7.11m this year and ranks second behind Reese and Elena Sokolova (7.06m).

Also in with a strong shout will be Anastasiya Mironchik-Ivanova of Belarus who was fourth in Daegu missing the bronze medal by just two centimetres and has an SB and personal best of 7.08m.

David Martin for the IAAF