Yulimar Rojas is tense. She awaited Hayward Field the triple jump world record holder with anticipation. “How far can Rojas jump?” World Athletics asked in the analysis of the test that the World Cup organization usually publishes before it is held. “Will it happen in Eugene?” Said the text, throwing into the air the question of whether it would break the long-awaited 16-meter barrier in Oregon.
However, the first of the six jumps arrives, 14m 60cms, below her usual level, surpassed by the Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts, who takes flight to mark 14m 89cms. And the Venezuelan talks and talks with her coach, Iván Pedroso, to calm down. “I felt a bit tense, I was coming off an injury and I hadn’t had many competitions. I had to find myself, find sensations, find the rhythm”, she will explain at the end.
The margin to be champion is still great, five more jumps are a lot in front of Puerta La Cruz. And the conversation takes effect immediately: she hits a second jump of 15m 47cms (+1.9 wind) the best of the year and the fifth longest in history, in a list in which she has seven of the ten largest. “From the second jump when I released all that tension, it was different, I just wanted him to enjoy himself, to do it great, to have a great time and it has been like that,” explains the athlete about her coach’s instructions.
That jump, unattainable for her rivals -only one of them had managed to exceed 15 meters in her career, the Portuguese Patrícia Mamona with 15.01-, assures her the world title, the third outdoors to her credit, more than any another woman in history —until now she was tied with the Colombian Caterine Ibargüen, the Cuban Yargelis Savigne and the Russian Tatyana Lebedeva—.
Then, the Olympic champion in Tokyo, who trains in Guadalajara, leaves the earthly battle and gets to work trying to settle other accounts with history: she has been only three centimeters away from breaking the record for the championships, and She has long expressed that her goal is to become the first woman to break the 16-meter barrier.
The record with which he arrives in Eugene, 15.74 meters, achieved at the World Cup in Belgrade in March —where he won his third indoor world championship—, is only 26 centimeters from that border, so arbitrary, but at the same time so round, which has been proposed to cross.
Outdoors it is slightly further away, 15.67m. But Yulimar Rojas tries, who addresses the Hayward Field public to play his part in the animation towards the feat. On the third attempt he goes back a little, 15.24 meters. He turns for advice to Pedroso, the award-winning long jumper who has run her since she contacted him on Facebook asking him to train her.
But July 18 will not be the day that the woman jumps beyond 16 meters: risking more in search of the feat, she makes null in the fourth and fifth, and marks 15.39 in the last. Among her opponents, Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts takes silver with 14.89 in her first jump, and American Tori Franklin is bronze with 14.72.
“It has not been with the brand that I wanted due to some factors. The first thing is that I did not compete much this year”, Rojas declares at the end, happy for the victory, but aware that he has not fully exploited his potential, partly due to the wind, which he blames for not being able to find the best impulse race .
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