Yulimar Rojas celebrates her triple jump win at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (© Getty Images)
Day four at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 was dedicated to putting women’s events in the spotlight and Yulimar Rojas shone bright yet again, securing an unprecedented third world triple jump title with a 15.47m leap.
On a day celebrating the achievements of women in athletics, the Venezuelan jumps superstar was just three centimetres off the championship record – a mark that had stood as the world record from 1995 until Rojas first broke it in Tokyo. She backed up that second-round 15.47m (1.9m/s) with two more 15.00m-plus jumps, getting gold ahead of Jamaica’s Olympic silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts with 14.89m and USA’s Tori Franklin, whose season’s best performance of 14.72m secured her nation’s first ever medal in the event at the World Championships and on home soil, too.
“It still hasn't sunk in yet,” said Rojas. “I wanted a longer jump, but I am happy to return to this beautiful stadium, to see the crowd.
“More championships will come and I hope to continue adding titles for my country.”
It was at Hayward Field in 2014 that Rojas made her global championship debut, contesting both the long jump and the triple jump. Since then, she has won three world indoor titles, become the Olympic champion and now, a three-time world outdoor champion. Her last loss at a global championships came in Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games, where the 26-year-old still secured silver, and she now owns eight of the nine best winning marks in history.
That list is topped by the phenomenal 15.74m outright world record she soared to win her third world indoor title in Belgrade in March.
In just her second triple jump competition since that global indoor final, Rojas opened with a safe-looking 14.60m that Ricketts followed with a 14.89m season’s best to take an early lead.
She didn’t stay on top for long, though, Rojas responding with 15.47m – the fifth-best outdoor performance in history – to all but seal her seventh successive global gold medal.
After a third-round 15.24m, her fourth jump was big – the Venezuelan landing in the sand at a mark that looked very close to her world record. But the flag flashed red and on a warm but blustery evening, the wind was confirmed at an illegal 3.4m/s. Her next attempt was also a foul and then with the wind back under the legal limit she recorded a sixth-round 15.39m.
You could tell she wanted more but the win was what mattered and as she roared in celebration, Rojas ripped off her bib and showed it to the crowd.
World triple jump champion Yulimar Rojas (© Getty Images)
“Every meet, big or small, is a challenge to me,” she added. “I came with the goal to get closer to my world record. The wind affected my run-up. I tried to adjust, but the most important thing was to win the medal and stay consistent over 15 metres."
That she did, and Ricketts also came close – 14.89m being her fourth-best ever performance. It secured her a second successive world silver behind Rojas after her runner-up finish in Doha.
The 30-year-old, who was the last athlete to jump farther than Rojas in a competition when she claimed the 2019 Diamond League title, had a consistent series, with three of her jumps measured at 14.80m or beyond.
“It was an incredible competition,” said the Jamaican, rebounding after a fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics. “I wanted to go big early to set the pace and get three further jumps. To come out tonight and win a medal after a disappointing showing at the Olympic Games, I am just over the moon.”
It was in the fifth round that Franklin leapt into the medals, the 29-year-old jumping a season’s best of 14.72m. Once confirmed as the bronze medallist, the multiple national champion looked inspired to go even further but her final jump was a foul.
“It has been long and tough couple of years for me,” said Franklin. “I have gone through a lot and I am happy that I am finally competing to the best of my ability. It is so tough right now in our event because Rojas is just an amazing jumper and Shanieka always comes with this energy. I feel really blessed to be among these special women.”
Cuba’s Pan American Junior Games champion Leyanis Perez Hernandez improved her PB by 12 centimetres but it wasn’t quite enough, the 20-year-old missing out on a medal by just two centimetres with her second-round 14.70m.
With a leap of 14.56m, Dominica’s Thea LaFond finished fifth to achieve her nation’s best ever performance in a women’s event at the World Athletics Championships.
Franklin’s US teammate Keturah Orji, the Rio Olympic fourth-place finisher, was sixth with a wind-assisted 14.49m (2.4m/s).
Jess Whittington for World Athletics
|WOMEN'S TRIPLE JUMP MEDALLISTS
|Yulimar Rojas 🇻🇪 VEN
|Shanieka Ricketts 🇺🇸 JAM
|Tori Franklin 🇺🇸 USA