Caterine Ibarguen in the womens Triple Jump qualifications at the IAAF World Championships Moscow 2013 (© Getty Images)
This morning’s qualifying round did nothing but simply underline the poor standards in the women’s Triple Jump, because for the first time since the event made its debut at the World Championships in 1993, a mark below 14 metres was enough to make the final.
It wasn’t as though just one finalist scraped through under that barrier either as three of the top 12 recorded marks that began with the ‘13’ – a lucky number for them on this occasion.
There were few surprises at the top end of the round as defending World champion Olha Saladuha produced the top mark of the round with 14.69m in group A. As expected, world leader Caterine Ibarguen topped the other group with a mark of 14.52m.
The automatic qualifying mark had already been set to its lowest level for eight years at just 14.30m, but even then only seven women surpassed it.
Behind the top two gold-medal contenders, Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko was the best of the rest. The former Ukrainian, now representing Israel, overcame two fouls to land at 14.46m on her third and final attempt, taking off way behind the plasticine.
Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams was the next best, the Olympic finalist jumping 14.36m in round two after opening with 14.25m.
Three Russian athletes then followed in the overall standings, the host nation trio recording marks within just four centimetres of one another. 10 years after making her debut at these championships, Anna Pyatykh booked a spot in her fifth World Championships final with a leap of 14.34m.
Team-mates Ekaterina Koneva and Irina Gumenyuk hit the qualifying mark exactly with their 14.30m leaps .
Like Pyatykh, Cuba’s Mabel Gay is also competing at her fifth World Championships. The 2009 World silver medallist was the best of the non-automatic qualifiers with 14.17m, a mark matched by Slovenia’s Snezana Rodic.
Poland’s Anna Jagaciak (13.96m), Greece’s Athanasia Perra (13.92m) and Slovak Republic’s Dana Veldakova (13.88m) were perhaps surprised to find that their marks were good enough for a place in the final.
Brazil’s Keila Costa, who has this year set a national record of 14.58m, was well below her best this morning and missed out on the final by one place after jumping just 13.82m.
Italy’s 2011 European indoor champion Simona La Mantia and Greece’s Niki Panetta were also perhaps harbouring ambitions of being in the final, but were left disappointed.
It has been almost three years since the 15-metre mark was last broken in this event – the longest span with no jumps past that barrier since the mark was first achieved back in 1993. The depth of this morning’s qualifying round may not be too promising, but there are at least two athletes in the final capable of threatening 15 metres. Here’s hoping they can spur each other on to spark new life into the event.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF