Tatyana Lebedeva leads a Russian sweep in the women's Long Jump (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News 28 August 2007 – Osaka, Japan

Osaka 2007 - Women's Long Jump: One down in Lebedeva’s quest for unprecedented double

Osaka, JapanA Russian was back on top of the podium as Olympic champion Tatyana Lebedeva won Long Jump gold here at the Nagai Stadium, but she did not have to look too far for her teammates.

Leads first ever national sweep

History was made as Lebedeva led a clean-sweep, the first time one country has scooped all three medals at this event and now the champion is chasing some individual record-making.

Lebedeva, 31, will return on Wednesday in an attempt to qualify to win her third Triple Jump title in a bid to become the first athlete - male or female - to win the 'jumps' double at a World Championships.

The signs are ominous for her opponents as Lebedeva, the reigning Olympic champion in the event, was never stretched in the Long Jump. “The Long Jump was kind of a warm-up for me,” she said. Not a bad way to prepare for your main event.

She originates from Volgograd, as does pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, who won gold within minutes of Lebedeva’s triumph. “I am happy for us all,” said the Long Jump champion. “We have some great sports facilities where I am from and we have some great results.”

Russia have won the Long Jump only once before at the IAAF World Championships when Lyudmila Galkina triumphed in Athens in 1997. The medals have been shared between Europe and the U.S. since then and never before has there been a clean-sweep.

Sole jumper beyond 7m

But with two jumps of 7.03m, in the second and third round, Lebedeva had put the finishing touches on this ‘warm-up’ for the big one.

She was the only athlete to break 7m, with Lyudmila Kolchanova second with 6.92m, snatching silver with her last effort from Tatyana Kotova, who finished third with 6.90m.

Yet, in the moment of their triumph at these 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, an opportunity to throw their challenge forward 12 months to the Olympic Games in Beijing was the common theme.

Looking for a repeat in Beijing

Lebedeva said: “I am delighted with my victory and it would be something if we all came back and achieved the same next year. It was a shame tonight that there were not more jumps over 7m, but the wind made it difficult.”

Osaka is Kolchanova’s first appearance at a World championship and she said: “What I have achieved here on my debut – and I am happy – will be a good base for the Olympics. Once more, I hope the Russians can dominate the medals there as well.”

Kotova, who has finished second at the last three World championships and achieved a season’s best, knew the recipe for her latest medal – the local cooking. “I have been here preparing for a while and the Japanese people have been so friendly and warm towards me,” she said. “I love their food and it has made me feel good.”

While the competition might not have been gripped with drama, it served to prove what an amazing competitor Lebedeva has become.

She has an Olympic silver and bronze from the Triple Jump where she is also the European champion and now on the menu is another piece of World Championship history as she attempts to win her second gold medal of the week.

Richards Lewis for the IAAF