In Daegu two years ago, Caterine Ibarguen took bronze in the Triple Jump to become the first Colombian woman to win a medal at the IAAF World Championships.
This year she is looking to become her country’s first World champion.
The Olympic silver medallist is undefeated all year, winning at the Diamond League meetings in Shanghai, Eugene, Oslo and Paris. At all four of those meetings she beat reigning World champion Olha Saladuha of Ukraine.
Saladuha, the Olympic bronze medallist and two-time European champion, leads the world lists this year with a leap of 14.85m. But aside from that performance, the rest of her competitions this year have been below 14.60m. She also has just one victory this year from when she won at the European Team Championships.
The Triple Jump is yet to truly come alive this year. No woman has broken 15 metres for 35 months, the longest period of time without a 15-metre jump since the barrier was first broken in 1993. The event has been dealt another blow through the absence of Olympic champion Olga Ryapkova, the Kazakh athlete who took silver in Daegu two years ago.
Aside from Ibarguen and Saladuha, the only other athlete over 14.60m this year is Russia’s Yekaterina Koneva, who successfully defended her World University Games title in July with a PB of 14.82m. Aside from her defeat to Saladuha at the European Team Championships, the former sprinter has won all of her competitions this year.
Should any of the three main medal contenders falter, the battle for bronze could be thrown wide open. Four athletes are tied at fourth place on this year’s world season lists with a best of 14.58m – Brazil’s Keila Costa, Slovenia’s Snezana Rodic, Russia’s Irina Gumenyuk and Israel’s Hannah Knyazyeva.
Until now, Costa has had more success in the Long Jump, taking bronze in that event at the 2010 World Indoor Championships. But her recent focus on the Triple Jump was rewarded with a national record in June.
Knyazyeva, a 14.71m jumper at best, finished fourth at the Olympics last year, competing for Ukraine. Having switched nationalities, she has improved the Israeli record numerous times this year.
The third Russian on the team is Anna Pyatykh, who took the bronze medal at the 2005 and 2009 World Championships. Should she make it on to the podium again, she will join Tatyana Lebedeva and Yargelis Savigne as the only three-time medallists in the event at the World Championships.
Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams finished in the top six at the Olympic Games and World Indoor Championships last year and will be keen to get among the medals in Moscow.
Other contenders include Greece’s Mediterranean Games champion Athanasia Perra and Cuba’s 2009 World silver medallist Mabel Gay.
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Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF