World champion and World leader Brittney Reese of the USA confirmed her status as pre-event favourite setting a new Championship record 7.08 in the fourth and last round to take the women’s Long Jump World Athletics Final title here in Thessaloniki.
It looked like a question of pride for the 23-year-old American indoor and outdoor champion whose best effort before the final round – a safe 6.81 after two long fouls – was good enough for second, only!
Indeed, as the order was reversed after the first three rounds, it was Russian champion Elena Sokolova who did not qualify for Berlin’s final by just one centimetre who led the competition having matched Reese’s effort in her third attempt but by virtue of a better second mark at 6.42. Actually Reese did not have a second mark at that stage of the competition.
It was obvious Reese was not to be content with second as she prepared for her final attempt; determination was written on her face.
Her approach was the best of today’s and as she left only 5 centimetres on the board she flew in the air landing well past the 7 metres virtual line. She knew as soon as she landed that she had done it and walked off the pitch confident of her achievement.
Indeed she landed just two centimetres shy of her World Championships winning personal best and 27 centimetres clear of Sokolova.
The Russian European Indoor silver medallist who was last to jump made a brave attempt to resume her leading position but her 6.67 final effort was far from her target. She had to settle for second place ahead of compatriot and World Championships silver medallist Tatyana Lebedeva whose best effort tonight was a second-round 6.79.
Former WAF and Golden League Jackpot winner Lebedeva who was also third at last year’s World Athletics Final in Stuttgart will return for tomorrow’s Triple Jump.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF