Ivo Van Damme Memorial Meeting, King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium, 9 September 2016.
The last event in the Women’s Triple Jump Diamond Race took place on Friday evening at the final Diamond League Meeting of the season in Brussels. As with the men’s final Diamond Race meeting at Zürich the previous week, victory on the night and over the season-long competition went to the Rio Olympic Games Champion. For the men that was the dominant force in the event, USA’s Christian Taylor. For the women, equally as dominant against her competitors, it was Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen who was once again victorious.
Even with double points on offer for the Brussels meeting Ibarguen was uncatchable before the competition started, having taken victory in 5 of the 6 Women’s Triple Jump Diamond Race events already completed this season. Her solitary defeat coming in Birmingham at the hands of 2012 Olympic Champion Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan. These two were once again the class acts of the night in an event that disappointingly saw just 7 entrants.
Even with an under par 13.94m opener Ibarguen found herself leading at the end of round 1. Rypakove had fouled her first effort, but in round 2 she reached out to 14.41m to ensure that Ibarguen still had to do some work if she wanted to cap her season off on a high. Ibarguen responded instantly with 14.54m to retake the lead and backed this up with 14.52m in round 3 to demonstrate that she was taking this competition as seriously as any other, despite her unbeatable position in the Diamond Race.
European Champion Patrica Mamona leapt to 14.16m with her 3rd attempt to earn 3 extra jumps along with Greece’s Paraskevi Papachristou who managed 13.84m in round 3, the same as Commonwealth Champion Kimberly Williams of Jamaica – the Greek sealing 4th spot on countback.
Despite Rypakova hitting 14.30m on her 6th round jump, none of the athletes in 2nd to 4th made improvements with their last jumps of the season, and so the event turned into an exhibition of world class jumping by Ibarguen. 14.18m in round 4 was followed by an improvement to her lead with 14.56m in the 5th round, but she kept the best for last as she bowed out with 14.66m.
Ibarguen’s main target this season was no doubt the Olympic title that eluded her in 2012, but having suffered just the 1 defeat this season – her only defeat since London 4 years ago – she is without doubt the best female Triple Jumper on the planet. With the emergence of Yulimar Rojas this season though, who took silver in Rio as well as gold at the World Indoor Championships in March, as well as the likes of USA’s Keturah Orji, next season promises to be an interesting chapter in the Women’s Triple Jump and hopefully one that can see more jumpers threatening to knock on the door of 15 metres again.