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Previews14 Mar 2022

Triple jump medals for the taking in Belgrade


Portugal's Pedro Pichardo (© Getty Images)

The men’s triple jump is possibly one of the most wide-open disciplines at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22.

On paper, it oozes quality. Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo of Portugal is set to take on defending world indoor champion Will Claye of the USA.

But the discipline is yet to truly come to life in 2022, as only two Belgrade-bound entrants have jumped beyond 17 metres this year.

Perhaps that could all change in Belgrade, though.

Pichardo’s only outing this year came at a low-key competition in Pombal in February where he jumped 16.57m. Not much should be read into that, though, as many athletes compete off a shortened approach in their first competitions of the season.

But it’s safe to assume that he wouldn’t have entered the World Indoors if he felt he couldn’t contend for a medal. Indeed, apart from the 2019 World Championships, Pichardo has reached the podium at every championships he has contested over the past decade, indoors and out.

Claye, winner of the world indoor title in 2018 and 2012, has jumped 16.63m this year but, like Pichardo, is a proven championship performer and cannot be discounted.

If either of those men are unable to produce their usual high standard of jumping, Lazaro Martinez could take advantage.

Lazaro Martinez competes in Madrid (© Giancarlo Colombo)

Before this year, the Cuban had never competed indoors. He now heads to Belgrade with the leading season’s best.

With his first jump in his first ever indoor competition, he sailed out to a world-leading 16.97m at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Lievin. He followed it moments later with 17.21m, the first indoor 17-metre jump of the year. After winning in Lievin, he once again came out on top in Madrid at the final World Indoor Tour Gold meeting, winning with 17.12m.

Having won world U18 gold in 2013 and world U20 titles in 2014 and 2016, the 24-year-old could now potentially complete a full set of world age-group titles if he wins his first senior gold in Belgrade.

There are several other contenders, though.

Algeria’s Yasser Triki has jumped 16.95m so far this year, but is a 17.43m performer at his best outdoors, having jumped that mark to set a national record when finishing fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

French Olympian Jean-Marc Pontvianne finished third behind Martinez in Madrid, but then bounded out to a season’s best of 17.08m in Paris. If he is able to reproduce that form in Belgrade, it may be enough for a medal.

Others to look out for include 2019 European indoor champion Nazim Babayev of Azerbaijan, 2016 European champion Max Hess of Germany, US indoor champion Donald Scott, and Jahnhai Perinchief of Bermuda.

Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics