Birmingham, England, 5 June 2016.
The run is over! After 34 consecutive competition victories, and nearly 4 years, World Champion Caterine Ibarguen was finally defeated in the Birmingham Diamond League Meeting yesterday by, ironically, the last woman to beat her, Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan.
Rypakova started the contest the strongly, posting 14.42m in Round 1 to lead from Commonwealth Champion Kimberly Williams, the only other athlete to go over 14 metres with 14.03m. Ibarguen opened with 13.98m but improved out to 14.51m in Round 2 to take the lead as Rypokova hit 14.25m. Williams improved again to 14.18m but found herself in 4th as Paraskevi Papachristou leapt 14.26m, just 2 cm behind her season’s best.
In Round 3 Williams improved to 14.27m, but still found herself in 4th as European Champion Olha Saladukha hit a new season’s best of 14.40m to pressurise the top 2. Rypakova could only muster 14.35m, and when Ibarguen extended her lead with 14.56m it seemed like win number 35 was on the cards. There seemed little danger to her run in the latter rounds and Rypakova hit 14.22m in Round 4 and then passed her 5th attempt.
Kimberly Williams continued to improve through Rounds 4 and 5, with 14.30m and 14.36m respectively, before fouling her last attempt. While Saladukha hit 2 No Jumps before 14.18m to end her competition. Rypakova then took to the runway for her final attempt and, drawing upon the competitive spirit that saw her crowned Olympic Champion in 2012, Ibarguen’s last defeat, she bounded out to a 14.61m – equalling her season’s best and taking the lead with just Ibarguen to come.
Having already survived a couple of scares to her run earlier this season, to Yulimar Rojas in Doha and the top 4 cut-off in Rome, Ibarguen was probably still confident she could survive this challenge as she began her approach run. She bounded out long again, but being short of the board, she cut the sand at 14.53m, just 8 cm shy of Rypakova’s lead and her unbeaten record had gone. Despite her obvious disappointment, this may ultimately prove to be a good thing for the Colombian in her Olympic bid. There may now be less pressure on her in the build-up to Rio, she can focus more on that contest and work on technical aspects during forthcoming competitions rather than expending energy and thought on staying undefeated. Victory in Birmingham may have gone to Rypakova, but has it aided Ibarguen’s Olympic Dream?
Further down the field there were under par displays by Liadagmis Povea of Cuba and Shanieka Thomas of Jamaica, with 13.92m and 13.88m respectively, following their impressive performances in Rome just 3 days earlier. Britain’s Laura Samuel had a disappointing day on her home track, recording a best of 13.12m, far from her 14 metre form of late April. Hopefully in the more relaxed atmosphere of the British Championships/Olympic Trials, back in Birmingham in 3 weeks time, she can regain the form that has put her on the brink of Olympic selection.
- Olga Rypakova (Kazakhstan) 14.61m
- Caterine Ibarguen (Colombia) 14.56m
- Olha Saladukha (Ukraine) 14.40m
- Kimberly Williams (Jamaica) 14.36m
- Paraskevi Papachristou (Greece) 14.26m
- Liadagmis Povea (Cuba) 13.93m
- Shanieka Thomas (Jamaica) 13.88m
- Laura Samuel (Great Britain) 13.12m