Nafissatou Thiam in the heptathlon long jumpat the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Report: heptathlon long jump – Rio 2016 Olympic Games

For Nafissatou Thiam, the heptathlon long jump was a tale of three rounds.

She landed near the seven-metre line on her first attempt and her jump was actually measured at 6.93m before officials realised that it was a foul; she hadn’t left a mark in the plasticine simply because she had stepped so far over the board, about 60 centimetres.

For a brief moment, her hopes of a medal were in jeopardy.

The Belgian then landed a safe 6.18m with her second attempt to consolidate her position in the overall standings. But there was more to come.

With her last jump of the competition, she sailed out to a lifetime best of 6.58m, the best mark of the day and just five centimetres shy of the Belgian record.

More importantly, though, she regained the overall lead and now has a genuine shot of taking the gold medal. The 21-year-old is a strong javelin thrower so will likely add to her advantage over Jessica Ennis-Hill, which currently stands at five points: 5018 to 5013.

Ennis-Hill’s 6.34m leap was by no means a disaster, but the Briton would have been hoping to get closer to the 6.63m PB she set earlier this year in Ratingen.

Teammate Katarina Johnson-Thompson fared much better than she did at last year’s World Championships and recorded two valid jumps: 6.51m and 6.47m. Like Ennis-Hill, she was some way down on her best marks this year, but remains in contention for a medal.

World indoor champion Brianne Theisen-Eaton jumped 6.48m and will now have a fight on her hands in the remaining two events if she is to salvage a medal from this competition.

Carolin Schafer, who suffered a similar fate to Johnson-Thompson at last year’s World Championships with three fouls in the long jump, looked to be heading in a similar direction yet again. But after recording two fouls here in Rio, she pulled out a jump of 6.20m to remain in the competition.

German teammate Claudia Rath moved up several places on the leaderboard thanks to her leap of 6.55m. Two-time European champion Antoinette Nana Djimou also climbed up the overall standings, thanks to her leap of 6.43m.

The battle for medals, though, now looks to be between Thiam and the two Britons, while Theisen-Eaton and Schafer are still close behind.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF