Portland, USA, 19 March 2016.
1. Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela) 14.41m
2. Kristin Gierisch (Germany) 14.30m
3. Paraskeví Papahrístou (Greece) 14.15m
4. Keturah Orji (USA) 14.14m
5. Elena Panturoiu (Romania) 14.11m
6. Kristiina Mäkelä (Finland) 14.07m
7. Jeanine Assani Issouf (France) 14.07m
8. Shanieka Thomas (Jamaica) 13.95m
9. Keila Costa (Brazil) 13.94m
10. Christina Epps (USA) 13.68m
11. Ana Peleteiro (Spain) 13.59m
12. Carmen Toma (Romania) 13.31m
13. Iryna Vaskouskaya (Belarus) 13.28m
14. Sanna Nygård (Finland) 13.21m
15. Ayanna Alexander (Trinidad & Tobago) No Mark
The Women’s contest went mainly to form, so much so that this website correctly predicted the eventual 1-2-3 in its preview article last week, but there was nearly a late twist in the tale.
At the end of round 1 America’s Keturah Orji led the way with a new indoor PB of 14.13m ahead of Romania’s Elena Panturoiu who opened with 13.93m, Germany’s Kristin Gierisch getting off to a steady start with 13.73m. In the 2nd round the competition began in earnest as Kristiina Mäkelä of Finland hit 14.04m before Paraskeví Papahrístou (Greece) took the lead with 14.15m and Gierish improved to 14.07m. Jumping last in the round though, pre-competition favourite Yulimar Rojas put a first round foul behind her and reached out to a competition-leading 14.41m, despite seeming to falter slightly coming into the board. With no-one else having jumped that far this year Rojas might have thought the competition was safe, especially as in round 3 the only significant improvements came from Panturoiu (14.02m) and France’s Jeanine Assani Issouf (14.07m).
In round 4 Mäkelä became the 3rd athlete on 14.07m, Panturoiu improved to 14.11m, but then Gierisch extended out to 14.16m to take 2nd place, just 1 cm ahead of Papahrístou. In fact, at this stage a mere 9 cm covered 2nd-7th in the contest. In round 5 Panturoiu jumped 14.11m once again, agonisingly close to a podium spot with her last effort, but Gierisch showed that the contest wasn’t over as she bounded out to a season’s best of 14.30m – just 11 cm down on Rojas who, like Papahrístou, was finding it impossible to get in a valid jump now as she strived for extra distance.
Under the format of the Championships only the top 4 got a 6th and final effort to secure a place on the podium. Orji gave it her all and despite increasing her indoor PB by a centimetre on her opening effort, her last round 14.14m fell just 1 centimetre shy of Papahrístou’s mark with what turned out to be the Greek athlete’s only valid jump of the contest. As Gierisch took to the runway for her final effort, buoyed by her 5th round jump, there seemed real belief that she could topple Rojas’ mark. She broke 14 metres again, but her 14.08m meant that Rojas became Venezuela’s first global Indoor Champion and, at the age of 20, for 24 hours (until beaten by High Jump winner Vashti Cunningham of USA) the youngest ever World Indoor Champion. Can she produce this kind of form outdoors and challenge in Rio?
1. Dong Bin (China) 17.33m
2. Max Hess (Germany) 17.14m (PB)
3. Benjamin Compaoré (France) 17.09m
4. Nelson Évora (Portugal) 16.89m
5. Omar Craddock (USA) 16.87m
6. Tosin Oke (Nigeria) 16.73m
7. Pablo Torrijos (Spain) 16.67m
8. Nazim Babayev (Azerbaijan) 16.43m
9. Harold Corréa (France) 16.30m
10. Marian Oprea (Romania) 16.27m
11. Chris Benard (USA) 16.15m
12. Aphonso Jordan (USA) 16.11m
13. Jonathan Drack (Mauritius) 16.04m
14. Olu Olamigoke (Nigeria) 15.94m
15. Roman Valiyev (Kazakhstan) 15.54m
16. Yordanys Duranona (Dominica) 15.27m
As with the Women’s competition earlier in the day, the World Leader going into the competition ended up taking the gold medal after taking an early lead, and as with the Women’s contest their biggest challenge came from a German improving through the competition. This competition, however, had an interesting side-story as well as an even closer call for the leader near its climax.
In round 1 Nigeria’s Tosin Oke bounded out to a season’s best of 16.73m before being ousted by European Outdoor Champion Benjamin Compaoré of France’s opener of 16.77m. The penultimate jumper was America’s Omar Craddock who seemed well pumped up for the competition – possibly too pumped up as he gesticulated on the sidelines to the home support before the contest – but taking his first attempt he lost control through his step and jump phases and landed awkwardly in the pit at 16.58m. Next up it was Bin Dong of China who had improved his PB out to 17.41m earlier this winter. Determined to show that he could transfer this form to the global stage he bounded out to 17.18m with his first effort for a commanding 41 cm lead at the end of round 1.
As round 2 began it became clear that Omar Craddock’s landing may have aggravated a hamstring problem he brought into the competition and he was seen receiving substantial physio on the injury before his 2nd round effort of 16.33m. Leaving the pit clearly limping, it seemed that his challenge for a medal was over and when he passed his 3rd round jump it seemed unlikely he would participate again in the contest.
With no major developments elsewhere in round 2, Compaoré improved to a season’s best of 17.00m in round 3 – and a new PB hopping off his right leg – to consolidate 2nd place and equal the European Lead of Max Hess. He may have had Dong in his sights, but Dong showed what a force he could be this year as he improved his mark to 17.29m.
The top 8 took their 4th round jumps and most were still improving as a place on the podium seemed up for grabs. Former Olympic Champion, and current European Indoor Champion, Nelson Évora of Portugal displaced Oke in 3rd place with a season’s best of 16.89m. While Compaoré passed his effort, Germany’s Hess finally found his pre-competition form and reached out to another PB this winter with 17.14m and second place behind Dong, who reached 16.98m with his 4th attempt.
Cradddock had mustered 16.52m in round 4 as he battled against the hamstring that was clearly restricting him. In round 5 he produced a remarkable effort given the extent of his hinderance, reaching out to 16.87m to take 5th place. Television replays showed that he was 27cm behind the board – in effect a 17.14m leap which could have tied him with Hess had he got his run-up right.
Pablo Torrijos of Spain improved to 16.67m with his last effort to place 7th, and Évora leapt 16.89m again to consolidate 4th. Hess then took to the runway with Dong’s 17.29m firmly in his sight. He cut the sand around the 17.40m mark, at least, but a dent in the plasticine of less than 1 cm prevented him from taking the lead in a global final at the age of 19. Compaoré had Hess in his sights, and improved to 17.04m in round 5 before Dong took to the runway again.
With Hess in the form of his life Dong knew that his work for the day wasn’t over and he improved his lead by another 4 cm with 17.33m.
In the last round of just 4 jumpers, Évora fouled before Compaoré improved yet again – this time to 17.09m to take bronze. Hess proved his worth in the silver medal spot with another 17.14m leap before an ecstatic Dong took gold after fouling his last round. Dong may have dominated the competition but Hess’ form over his last 3 jumps could indicate that this summer, and in the coming years, he could produce something special in the event.