|200 Metres||25.06||+0.1||San Germán||03 DEC 2010|
|800 Metres||2:35.35||San Germán||04 DEC 2010|
|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 (Stade Louis II)||18 JUL 2014|
|Shot Put||12.68||San Germán||03 DEC 2010|
|Javelin Throw||37.72||San Germán||04 DEC 2010|
|Heptathlon||5742||San Germán||05 DEC 2009|
|High Jump||1.81||Moskva (Olimpiyskiy Stadion)||11 MAR 2006|
|2010||25.06||+0.1||San Germán||03 DEC|
|2010||2:35.35||San Germán||04 DEC|
|2010||1.80||San Germán||03 DEC|
|2007||1.87||Rio de Janeiro||25 JUL|
|1999||1.65||Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak)||16 JUL|
|2015||6.63||+1.1||Cali (Pedro Grajales)||16 NOV|
|2011||6.63||+1.6||Guadalajara, MEX||26 OCT|
|2010||6.01||San Germán||04 DEC|
|2016||15.17||+0.4||Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico)||14 AUG|
|2015||14.90||+0.1||Beijing (National Stadium)||24 AUG|
|2014||15.31||0.0||Monaco (Stade Louis II)||18 JUL|
|2013||14.85||+0.2||Moskva (Luzhniki)||15 AUG|
|2010||14.29||+2.0||San Fernando, ESP||05 JUN|
|2010||12.68||San Germán||03 DEC|
|2010||37.72||San Germán||04 DEC|
|2010||5633||San Germán||04 DEC|
|2009||5742||San Germán||05 DEC|
|2006||1.81||Moskva (Olimpiyskiy Stadion)||11 MAR|
|12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||15q1||1.85||Berlin (Olympiastadion)||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 (Olympic Stadium)||06 AUG 2005|
|28th Olympic Games||16q2||1.85||Athína (Olympic Stadium)||26 AUG 2004|
|1st IAAF World Youth Championships||15q1||1.65||Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak)||16 JUL 1999|
|The XXX Olympic Games||q2||DNS||London (Olympic Stadium)||07 AUG 2012|
|The XXXI Olympic Games||1||15.17||+0.4||Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico)||14 AUG 2016|
|15th IAAF World Championships||1||14.90||+0.1||Beijing (National Stadium)||24 AUG 2015|
|2nd 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 (Olympic Stadium)||05 AUG 2012|
|13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||3||14.84||+0.4||Daegu (DS)||01 SEP 2011|
|IAAF/Coca Cola World Junior Championships||9q1||12.69||+0.6||Kingston (NS), 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 12 August 2016
Caterine IBARGÜEN Mena, Colombia (Long Jump/Triple Jump)
Born 12 February 1984 in Apartadó, Antioquia
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 northern 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).
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 ranked fifth in the world in 2014 with a personal best of 14.58m.
Ibargüen became the first Colombian woman to compete in an individual event for Team Americas at the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, on 13-14 September. And she did not disappoint with an emphatic win. She ended her 2014 season with another victory at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Xalapa, Mexico.
“It was an excellent year. I believe we achieved the goals we set out for this year. Apart from the Diamond League wins and the 15.31, I am proud of my consistency and also of having won gold for Colombia at the Central American Games in Mexico and contributing to Team Americas at the Continental Cup. I am also very happy to have been nominated to the IAAF Athlete of the Year Award,” she commented on another undefeated year.
In preparation for her world title defence in Beijing in 2015, the Colombian has continued her dominance in the women’s triple jump. In 2015, Going into the World Championships she had extended her winning streak to 28, including four Diamond League events and the Pan American Games in Toronto. She surpassed the 15-meter mark twice, in both cases wind-aided.
Bronze medallist in Daegu 2011 and gold in Moscow, Ibarguen aimed to step on the highest place on the podium again in Beijing. And she did, by taking the lead in the second round with 14.80m and sealed the gold with a season’s best of 14.90 in her fourth round. The victory extended her winning streak to 29 competitions and she became the second most successful South American athlete in the history of the championships, only behind three-time 20km race walking champion Jefferson Perez of Ecuador.
“I am very satisfied and very happy. All my work was aimed at this medal. I would have liked to jump further. It gives me a big joy to make my country happy. I love triple jump,” she told reporters in Beijing.
She capped her third consecutive undefeated season with a win in Brussels to claim her third Diamond Race trophy in a row.
In November, she returned to the National Games after three years and picked up two gold medals, in the high jump and long jump, competing for her native region Antioquia.
“Thanks to the people of Cali (the host city) and for the support provided to athletes and for not forgetting the National Games. There’s a lot of talent in Colombia,” she said in her twitter.
“What we learn well as a child will not be forgotten. I could not disappoint my (former) coach Regla Sandino,” she added, referring to her first high jump competition in three years.
In 2016, she opened the season at home in Medellin, then produced her second best legal jump and a world leading 15.04m at the Diamond League opener in Doha, in a close battle with another South American athlete, Venezuela’s World indoor champion Yulimar Rojas.
She extended her winning streak to 34 at the Diamond League event in Rome, but was defeated by Olga Rypakova in Birmingham. The Kazakh had been the last athlete to beat her, at the 2012 Olympic final.
Ibarguen ended her Olympic tune-up with a convincing win at the Diamond League meet in Monaco, where she landed at 14.96m.
“I am feeling great. I have trained very well and we are now in the final stretch before the competition. I am happy to be with my teammates and wear the (Colombian) colours that I love and motivate me so much,” she told telemedellin.tv from the Olympic Village.
Off the track, Ibarguen served as an ambassador for the IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, in her native Colombia.
“I was very, very scared,” she said, laughingly remembering her World Youth Championships experience in Bydgoszcz in Poland as a 15-year-old, where she competed in the high jump. But “It was a very important competition for me, where I competed against so many athletes and gained a lot of experience,” she said.
“That’s the same experience that the Colombian team is experiencing here in Cali. It’s going to help them with their ambitions, it will help them realize that we Colombians can be at the same level as athletes from other countries; that we can be ambitious. That’s where my ambitions came from, from the World Youth Championships in 1999.”
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 Puerto Rico 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, training partner, heptathlete Allysbeth Felix, both of Puerto Rico, and 2009 World Triple Jump Silver medallist Mabel Gay of Cuba.
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)
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, 2015-1.78, 2016- -
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, 2013-6.54, 2015-6.63 (6.66w), 2016- -
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, 2015-14.90 (15.18w), 2016-15.04
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)
2014 1st IAAF Continental Cup, Marrakech (Triple Jump) 14.52
2014 1st Central American and Caribbean Games, Xalapa (Triple Jump) 14.57
2015 1st Pan American Games, Toronto (Triple Jump) 15.08w
2015 1st World Championships, Beijing (Triple Jump) 14.90
2015 1st Diamond League Race (Triple Jump)
Prepared by Javier Clavelo and Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. © IAAF 2012-2016