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Brittney Reese in the women's Long Jump at the IAAF World Championships Moscow 2013 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Beijing, China

Preview: women’s long jump – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015

As a 19-year-old just over a decade ago, the then Tianna Madison pulled off one of the big upsets of the 2005 IAAF World Championships when she defied the cool and damp conditions prevalent in Helsinki that night to fly out to what was then a personal best of 6.89m and take the world title.

In the intervening years, she struggled to recapture that elusive spark which took her to victory in the Finnish capital, and that distance was to remain her best until last year.

However, after several years of only a half-hearted commitment to the event and focusing more of her attention on sprinting, she returned to serious jumping last year and finally fulfilled many of the predictions made in the middle part of the past decade and finally went beyond seven metres with 7.02m in Oslo.

This summer has seen her improve her personal best to 7.12m, when winning the US title, and she is the only woman to go out to seven metres or farther in 2015.

Combined with her five wins out of seven meetings this summer, including at the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Doha, Eugene and Lausanne, she has to be considered the favourite to regain her title, which would be an near-unique feat.

The only other athlete who has regained their title after a 10-year gap was also a female long jumper, the German great Heike Drechsler who won at the inaugural championships in 1983 and then again in 1993 on home soil in Stuttgart.

Accompanying Bartoletta in the US team is three-time defending champion Brittney Reese, but the woman who was almost unbeatable between 2009 and 2013 has struggled for consistency and form this year.

However, having reached a season’s best of 6.97m for second place at the US Championships, her chances of getting a fourth straight title cannot be dismissed.

In between Bartoletta and Reese on the 2015 world lists are Canada’s Christabel Nettey and Great Britain’s Shara Proctor, who have both set national records this year.

Nettey has been a revelation since the start of the year, jumping 6.99m both indoors and outdoors, and won the Pan American Games recently.

Now 24, Nettey will be hoping for a big improvement on her one and only previous appearance at the IAAF World Championships two years ago in Moscow which saw her struggle and fail to make the final.

By contrast, Proctor has a better big championship record having been sixth at both the 2009 and 2013 World Championships. Having improved to 6.98m this summer, the Briton will be looking to at least emulate her bronze medal from the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

Other potential medal contenders should include Russia’s two-time European indoor champion Darya Klishina and USA’s Olympic bronze medallist Janay DeLoach Soukup, who have both jumped 6.95m this summer.

Germany’s talented pair of 2012 world junior silver medallist Lena Malkus and European indoor silver medallist Sosthene Moguenara are not far behind with seasonal bests of 6.94m.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF