Stade Louis II, Fontvieille, Monaco.
At Birmingham, the last Diamond League Meeting featuring the Women’s Triple Jump event, Caterine Ibarguen’s 34-competition winning streak came to a surprise end at the hands of reigning Olympic Champion Olga Rypakova. So, as the athletes warmed-up in the summer heat of Monaco, there was an expectation that with Ibarguen and Rypakova in a field also including World Indoor Champion Yulimar Rojas and newly-crowned European Championships victor Patricia Mamona that a competitive event lay ahead.
From Round 1, however, there was one clear and outstanding athlete on display and that was the World Outdoor Champion Ibarguen, determined to reassert her domination of the event following her recent hiccup. She opened with 14.56m, ironically equalling her best effort in Birmingham, and then put any doubts of her form to bed with leaps of 14.82m and 14.87m in Rounds 2 and 3, respectively.
The only athlete showing anything close to the form we know they are capabale of was Rojas, who broke the 15 metre barrier for the first time in late June with 15.02m, hitting 14.55m in Round 3 after a 14.23m opener. Commonwealth Champion Kimberley Williams places 3rd after 3 attempts thanks to her 1st Round 14.29m leap, just 5cm ahead of Portugal’s Mamona. That meant early exits for Olha Saladukha (14.03m), Rypakova (13.97m), Jeanine Assani Issouf (13.68m) and Paraskevi Papachristou who registered 3 No Jumps.
In the latter rounds Mamona could show no improvement, while Williams leapt out to 14.47m in Round 6 to consolidate 3rd place. Rojas increased her best to 14.64m in Round 5 but was still short of her best form, though the lack of range at the end of her hop into a short low step indicates that if she can hit such distances with this technique she could be pushing the World Record in the coming years. Victory was Ibarguen’s, and for good measure she hit 14.96m in the last round. With Rio and the Olympic Games the next battle for the leading female jumpers it seems that Ibarguen is back on course for the gold that eluded her in London. However, in Olympic competition nothing can ever be taken for granted and there could yet be a twist in the tale, especially if Rojas finds the technique she still seems to be learning as she competes amongst the world’s elite.
1. Caterine Ibarguen (Colombia) 14.96m
2. Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela) 14.64m
3. Kimberly Williams (Jamaica) 14.47m
4. Patricia Mamona (Portugal) 14.24m
5. Olha Saladukha (Ukraine) 14.03m
6. Olga Rypakova (Kazakhstan) 13.97m
7. Jeanine Assani Issouf (France) 13.68m
8. Paraskevi Papachristou (Greece) NM