Ricketts targets technical improvements
Triple jumper Shanieka Ricketts is working to improve this year, and the early signs are good. Relieved to have mastered the qualifying mark for the World Championships early, Ricketts has turned her attention to the technical details that she hopes will make all the difference.
The tall Vere Technical High and San Diego State University champion bounded past the IAAF standard of 14.20 metres on February 2 in Kingston with a personal best of 14.76m.
“Yes, it’s definitely a relief”, she said at the Jamaica Intercollegiate Championships last weekend. “Because I’ve already obtained the qualifying mark, I can now focus and zone in more on things that I need to improve on, so I’m very grateful.”
The 2015 and 2017 World Championships finalist is looking to get more out of her jumps in Doha, the city hosting the biggest meet of the year. “I’ve been working on some technical things forever, because the triple jump is a very technical event, and particularly in the last phase, so the extension, I’m losing a lot of distance because I’m not able to hold the extension as much as I would like to.
“So, I have more time to focus on that,” added the 2016 Olympian.
Though she has a long jump personal best of 6.63 metres from as far back as 2015, that event doesn’t figure in her plans for this season.
“I’m focusing on the triple jump solely this year,” Ricketts resolved.
TRIPLE JUMP RIVALS
With that in mind, she has kept a keen eye on her triple jump rivals, such as Venezuela’s reigning World champion Yulimar Rojas.
“I know that the triple jump competition at Doha will be very competitive. A lot of girls have been jumping big indoors, 14.9, 14.7, so coach Ricketts and I have been working on preservation for the season because the World Championships is in October, which is very late compared to previous years”, she said of her husband and coach, Kerry-Lee. “So we have to manage competition and training and make sure that we’re peaking at the right time.”
Rojas jumped 14.92m indoors, with Russia’s Yekaterina Koneva and Spain’s Ana Peleteiro producing marks of 14.81m and 14.73m, respectively.
When she made the 2015 World final, she was a debutant, but the 2018 Commonwealth Games runner-up now feels she has the experience she needs.
“Once you get on the world stage and you compete with these girls at every competition, you kind of get a sense of what they’re like and it’s not as threatening as before, when you just started out,” she said.
She’ll be back in action at the Jamaica Invitational in Kingston on May 4.