Sun | Jan 24, 2021

Ricketts encouraged by Pan Am success

Published:Monday | August 12, 2019 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment/Assistant Sports Editor

LIMA, Peru:

Pan American Games triple jump silver medallist Shanieka Thomas-Ricketts has a unique training partnership as her coach, Kerry Ricketts, is also her husband.

Kerry has talked up her potential throughout the year, saying that she is in for a very big season, and that was once again proven to be true on Friday night when she eclipsed her personal best of 14.75m, done in February, with a distance of 14.76m.

Thomas-Ricketts enjoys this special training set-up and says that the experience is a good one as it allows them to learn and grow together not only as a couple but in the sport.

“This year, we’re more students of the sport,” she told The Gleaner. “We’re learning a lot of things, and not only learning but trying to apply as the season goes on. I think it shows in each performance. There’s a lot of consistency from February till now, and we’re just grateful that’s the direction we’re heading in going to the World Championships.”

The 14.76m would have won Thomas-Ricketts the gold medal, if not for Yulimar Rojas’ performance. The Ecuadorian became the first woman in Pan Am Games history to surpass 15m in the triple jump with her effort of 15.11m, taking the gold.

But Thomas-Ricketts is elated to have outdone herself anyway.

“Honestly, the aim was to get on the podium, given the conditions, because it [was] freezing cold,” she explained. “But to get a personal best in the process, though it’s by one centimetre, I’m just happy that I was able to personal best at a major championship. I haven’t jumped this well since February, so obviously, I’m going in the right direction.”


Thomas-Ricketts is not only targeting gold at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, next month but also has Trecia Smith’s 15-year-old national record of 15.16m in her crosshairs. She is aggrieved that one of her jumps on Friday was shown a red flag as it would have challenged the record had it been white-flagged.

“I think with the triple jump, you have to be a little bit crazy,” she said. “Even though I had my personal best, I’m still not satisfied. I feel I can still jump the 15m. I had a huge foul in the first round, and it was at least a 15m foul. It’s just so frustrating because you know it’s there, but it’s just not coming out as yet, so it’s like motivation going into the next meet and for World Champs to just keep working hard, and maybe I’ll get the 15m sooner than later.”

Ricketts now turns her attention to the Paris leg of the IAAF Diamond League on August 24 then the Diamond League final in Brussels, Belgium, on September 6.