Can USA’s Brittney Reese win an unprecedented sixth consecutive global gold medal in the Long Jump?
In the space of four years, the 26-year-old has won two World Championships gold medals, two World Indoor Championships gold medals and the Olympic title. Gold in Moscow would make her the first woman in history to win three World Championships gold medals in the Long Jump – one more than legendary athletes Heike Drechsler, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Fiona May.
But after a promising start to the season when she jumped a Diamond League record of 7.25m in Doha, Reese’s past two competitions have not quite gone to plan.
She registered three fouls at the US Championships and was then beaten at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting by Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare. Reese had another disaster earlier in the season at the New York Diamond League meeting where she finished down in eighth place, failing to break six metres.
But Reese has a knack of getting it right when it matters most and she won’t surrender her crown without a fight.
Having already defeated Reese in Lausanne, if anyone is going to upset the reigning champion in Moscow, then Okagbare looks to be the best bet. The 24-year-old has impressed in the sprints this year, breaking the African 100m record with 10.79, but she hasn’t turned her back on her long-jumping roots.
She finished second to Reese in Doha with a wind-assisted 7.14m, then came her 6.98m victory in Lausanne, followed by a win in Monaco, jumping a windy 7.04m and a legal PB of 7.00m.
Okagbare is set for a busy week too, as she is also entered in the 100m and 200m. Not only would she be the first African woman to win a medal in any of those three events, but she could potentially become the first woman in the history of the World Championships to make it on to the podium in all three events.
Reese’s US team-mate Janay DeLoach Soukup is another reliable championship performer. She took Olympic bronze and World indoor silver last year and won the US title this summer.
Russia will be fielding four women in this event and all four of them are genuine medal contenders and have PBs in excess of seven metres.
Olympic silver medallist Elena Sokolova got the Diamond Race winner’s wildcard entry. She is joined by two-time European indoor champion Darya Klishina, defending silver medallist Olga Kucherenko and 2006 European champion Lyudmila Kolchanova, who at 33 will be the oldest long jumper in Moscow.
Britain’s Shara Proctor is another athlete who will challenge for a podium place, so too is France’s European champion Eloyse Lesueur.
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Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF