Hayward Field, Eugene, USA, 28 May 2016.
Round 2 of the Men’s Triple Jump Diamond Leage Race takes place on Saturday as part of the Prefontaine Classic Meeting in Eugene, Oregon. After a slightly disappointing first contest at the Doha Diamond League Meeting, despite Christian Taylor’s winning jump of 17.23m being the World Lead at the time, hopes are high that the level of performance in Eugene will be much higher thanks to a line-up good enough to fill the top 8 spots in any global championships.
Christian Taylor once again ducks no challenges in heading the field as World and Olympic Champion, but will look for a better techical performance than in Doha, his last appearance, when he appeared uncharacteristically unsure with his approach into the board. Since Doha, Bin Dong of China has increased the World Lead to 17.24m with his victory in the Beijing IAAF World Challenge Meeting on May 18th, and will look to challenge Taylor closer than Doha when he only clicked on his 3rd round effort of 17.07m to take 2nd place.
The field includes another 4 world-class American jumpers, showing their great strength-in-depth in the event at the moment. Olympic Silver medallist in London, Will Claye, has had a slow start to the season with a best of 16.70m from the rain-hit Drakes Relays at the end of April. With the American Olympic trials just over a month away he, like his fellow countrymen, will be looking to strike a psychological boost in Eugene. Another athlete looking for a big improvement in their 2016 form is Marquis Dendy. Last year at Hayward Field, when winning the NCAA Championships, he hit 17.71w and his legal PB of 17.50m. This year he has a best of 16.36m, off a short approach, to his name. Having won the World Indoor Long Jump title during the winter, this contest may determine whether Dendy decides to pursue a Rio place in the both horizontal jumps or just stick to the single leap event. Omar Craddock makes his outdoor debut following injury at the World Indoor Championships in March. The 4th placed athlete at last year’s World Outdoor Championships injured himself early on in the competition in Portland, yet still reached out to 16.87m late on for 5th spot. With determination like that, anything close to full fitness will see Craddock challenging the best in the world for honours this year. Apart from Taylor, the American athlete showing the best outdoor form in 2016 is Chris Carter who last weekend leapt to new outdoor PB of 17.12m in Hengelo, Netherlands, to currently rank 4th in the world. Despite jumping 17.06m to take the American Indoor title in Portland, Carter was shamefully left out of the American team for the World Indoor Championships in the same venue the following week. The motivation of that injustice could yet see him board the plane to Rio if he can press on from his early season form.
Completing the field in Eugene are the World Indoor Record Holder Teddy Tamgho and the ever-consistent Cuban Alex Copello. Tamgho was a victim of the new Diamond League rules for field events in Doha when a slow start deprived him of 3 extra attempts. His third attempt of 16.54m indicates on paper that he is far from his best form, but he reached that mark without any leg shoot as he over-balanced and pulled back on looking for distance. Following an indoor leap of 16.98m during the winter, the signs are there that, despite last year’s injury nightmare, Tamgho could still have a say in how the medals are decided in Rio. Alexis Copello finished 3rd in Doha with 16.98m, having reached 16.99m during the winter. At the age of 30 he seems a long way away from his 2011 PB of 17.68m but is showing good form this year and could once again be in the running for good Diamond League points in Eugene.
The Men’s Triple Jump starts at 8.15 pm (BST) on Saturday with live coverage of the meeting available on Eurosport 2 from 9 pm.
Men’s Triple Jump Line-Up (with outdoor PBs/2016 Diamond League Points):
Bin Dong (China) 17.24m/6
Christian Taylor (USA) 17.23m/10
Chris Carter (USA) 17.12m/0
Alexis Copello (Cuba) 16.98m/4
Will Claye (USA) 16.70m/0
Teddy Tamgho (France) 16.63m/0
Marquis Dendy (USA) 16.36m/0
Omar Craddock (USA) NM