28 JUL 2012 Preview

Women's Triple Jump - PREVIEW

Colombia’s Caterine Ibargüen jumping in Crystal Palace (Mark Shearman)Colombia’s Caterine Ibargüen jumping in Crystal Palace (Mark Shearman) © Copyright

Will Tatyana Lebedeva's inclusion in the Russian team see the legendary triple jumper finally snatch Olympic Triple Jump gold after the two silver and bronze medal successes she has achieved since her Games debut in Sydney 12 years ago?

In 2000 she lost out by 20cm to Tereza Marinova on only the second staging of the women's event at the Games, four years later she placed third to the swords of Francoise Mbango and Hyrsopiyi Devetzi then was beaten into silver medal position again in 2008 by the Cameroonian who defended her title in one of the greatest ever competitions.

Mbango 32, who only returned to the sport three months before the Beijing Games, hop, stepped and jumped a 15.39m Olympic record to frustrate Lebedeva who hot on her heels produced a best effort of 15.32m with Hyrsopiyi of Greece, Khazakhstan's Olga Rypakova and Yargeris Savigne all clearing the 15-metre marker.

Mbango is not returning to chase a third title and realistically Lebedeva who gave birth to her second child Aleksandra in April last year at the age of 36, will be playing catch up on the new breed of triple jumpers led by Olga Saladuha and Rypakova although in fairness World Indoor champion Yamile Aldama cannot be included amongst that age group.

Aldama who during her career has taken part at the last three Olympics representing Cuba her birth place followed by Sudan, will be making her Games debut in a British vest and after her Istanbul victory in March the transcontinental nomad cannot be ruled out of finally getting a medal.

A former World outdoor silver medallist Aldama who will celebrate her 40th birthday on 14 August is fighting a battle against what was a serious shoulder injury but is determined she will be ready to represent Team GB a country where she has lived for 11 years.

Saladuha won last year's World title during a disappointing year where there wasn't a legal 15-metre clearance and this season peppered it with a 14.99m world leading victory when winning the European Championships gold medal. With four of the Top 10 best jumps to her credit she must start favourite.

However two-time World champion Savigne who may have only cleared 14.35m this year and that was way back in February should not be ruled out whilst Rypakova and the consistent Colombian Caterine Ibarguen ,second and third behind Saladuha in Dageu who have cleared SB's of 14.73m and 14.95m (at altitude), will show their normal strong determination.

The contest may not reach the classic confrontation of four years ago but the sight of "Golden Oldies" Lebedeva and Aldama against the younger generation could produce something special that will be remembered.

David Martin for the IAAF