Yulimar Rojas continues to fly. Tonight, at just 23, the Venezuelan won her second consecutive world title in the triple jump, and did so in impressive style.
The tall, slender jumper took command early with a 14.87m effort in the opening round and all but sealed the victory in the second, reaching 15.37m, the second farthest leap of her career, just four centimetres shy of the personal best she set just one month ago in Andujar, Spain. Only three women have ever jumped farther than Rojas’s winning leap tonight; behind her nobody could come remotely close.
“It’s been a long and successful year,” said Rojas, who became the fourth back-to-back winner. “I came out to break the world record - I tried in the first three rounds but then I felt tired and my legs didn’t respond as I wanted. But I am super happy and grateful.”
A long foul followed in round three, but she sailed well over 15 metres again in the fourth round, landing at 15.18m. She hit 14.77m in round five and, with the title secured, closed out the competition with another long foul well beyond the 15-metre line.
New Jamaican star Shaneika Ricketts, who upset Rojas to take the Diamond League title in Zurich in late August, mounted the best attack but in truth, after the second round, the only battle that remained was the one for second. Ricketts followed Rojas’s example on that count, opening with a 14.81m effort, a leap which would held up for the runner-up spot. Ricketts then padded her margin with a 14.92m jump in round three, just a centimetre shy of her winning mark in Zurich. Silver, and Jamaica’s second medal in the event, was hers.
With her successful title defence, Rojas made another strong case that the Catherine Ibarguen era of triple jump dominance is fading, but the Colombian showed that she’s still very capable of producing medal-winning performances.
Opening with a modest 14.16m, she was the eighth jumper to squeeze into the final three rounds, courtesy of a 14.40m effort in the third round. A 14.46m effort in the fourth didn’t produce much movement up the standings, but her 14.73m in the fifth round did, catapulting her past Jamaican Kimberly Williams to secure the bronze.
Williams was fourth with 14.64m with Olha Saladukha of Ukraine, the 2011 champion and in Doha competing in her fifth World Championships final, fifth with 14.52m, her opening round effort.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF