The women’s long jump will be one of the most intriguing events of the IAAF World Championships in London this summer.
In Shara Proctor, Lorraine Ugen, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Jazmin Sawyers, Britain has four athletes potentially vying for three places in the GB team, with all of them capable of competing for medals.
In Rio, Brittany Reese jumped 7.15m but had to settle for silver while Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic, who jumped 7.08m for bronze in Rio, has already jumped 7.24m in 2017.
However, the London favourite on paper is set to be the American, Tianna Bartoletta, the reigning world and Olympic champion – not that Bartoletta sees herself in that light.
“Every year starts back at zero and I still have to execute and prove myself for another year,” she says. “If I get to the final of the World Championships and don’t perform, nobody is going to say, ‘oh well, at least once you were Olympic champion and world champion’. Rather, they would say that I did not perform like an Olympic and world champion should have performed.
“I have a lot of respect for Brittany, Ivana and Shara. My titles mean nothing; you have to be the best on the day,” she adds.
Bartoletta was at the 2012 Olympics – but as a sprinter – finishing fourth in the 100m and being part of the US 4x100m team that broke the world record.
“London was where I made my first Olympic team,” she says. “Running the 100m in London was a life-changing experience, which really set me up for the second phase of my career.
“It is really interesting that I’ll be going back to that same stadium but in a different event, which I think is kind of cool. Hopefully I can go and run the 100m there because it’s a great track. I have not jumped there but I am looking forward to it.”
Already qualified for London in the long jump as 2015 world champion, she will seek selection for the 100m in the US trials.
Her approach to 2017 is more of the same, as she explains: “To stay healthy and train smart and to keep a level head because it is really hard to come back from an Olympic year both mentally and emotionally. I am just trying to remain present, give 100% in training and really focus on executing in competition.”
Source: Stuart Weir| AW