Reflecting on his stellar 2013 season, French triple jumper Teddy Tamgho almost sounded relieved that he had survived the season unscathed when speaking to the world’s media ahead of the 2013 World Athletics Gala in Monaco on Saturday (16).
“People ask me what I feel more satisfied about or what I would prefer, whether it’s the World title or jumping over 18 metres. I think it’s all these things together but more than that it was coming back after two difficult years.
“I was really satisfied with jumping 18 metres (Tamgho’s winning leap in Moscow was 18.04m and he became only the third man in history to go over 18 metres) and knowing that I have a big margin for improvement.
Tamgho refuted the suggestion that in the wake of his ankle injury, suffered while warming up at the 2011 European Under-23 Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic, that he ever considered giving up the sport, something which has been suggested in other media.
“They were two difficult years but I never considered quitting. I know of athlete who have been injured for two years and come back and, in some cases, for even longer times.
“I’m also somebody who can rise to the occasion when it matters, I know this and that was a motivation.
Tamgho happily paid tribute to his coach Ivan Pedroso, Cuba’s former Long Jump World champion, and talked about why the chemistry between them was so good.
“I know the area where Ivan grew up and it’s a difficult place. It was like the place where I grew up and where you only had two options: stay or try to get out of the place. For me, I chose athletics. We are similar people in that respect.
He also outlined his ambitions for 2014, although he demurred from predicting whether he would or could break the World record, which has stood at 18.29m to Great Britain’s Jonathan Edwards since 1995.
“I do think about the World record. People are always asking me about it. My big foul in Moscow, just 1.6 centimetres, was slightly over the World record, so maybe getting the World record is just a case of maturity and improving physically, but in training I have jumped 17.80m.
“Next year, there is no major (global) championship outdoors so I am looking at the European Championships and winning the Diamond League. There’s the World Indoor Championships as well and if I go, I’ll go to win. I say if, but if I’m fully healthy, it will be difficult not to go there.”
Phil Minshull for the IAAF