Fri | Nov 15, 2019

I’m in the best shape ever, says Ricketts

Published:Friday | October 4, 2019 | 12:12 AMAndrÈ Lowe/Sports Editor
Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts on the runway during the qualifying round of the women’s triple jump at the IAAF World Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, yesterday.
Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts on the runway during the qualifying round of the women’s triple jump at the IAAF World Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, yesterday.

DOHA, Qatar:

There is an air of quiet, understated confidence about Jamaican triple jumper Shanieka Ricketts, who confirmed her amazing 2019 form yesterday after topping all qualifiers to tomorrow’s World Championships final at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Ricketts’ 14.42m jump is actually one of her worst distances this season, but with the automatic qualifying mark set at 14.30m, it took the PanAm Games silver medallist only one jump to exceed the requirement for a space in the final, pack her bags and head back to the warm-up track, as her business for the day was done.

“I feel good,” Ricketts said. “I am in the best shape I have ever been in and I am just hoping for the best on Saturday (tomorrow).”

The medal round

Defending champion Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela), 14.31m, Olympic champion and two-time world champion Caterine Ibarguen (Colombia), and Olha Saladukha (Ukraine), 14.32m, as well as Commonwealth Games champion and fellow Jamaican standout Kimberly Williams, 14.20m, are all safely through to the medal round, which begins tomorrow at 12:35 p.m. Jamaica time.

Ricketts, who has the second-best mark this season with her 14.93m personal best, has one thing on her mind and that is to join Trecia Smith, as the only Jamaicans to stand atop the podium in the triple jump at a senior global championship.

Williams has won bronze and silver at the World Indoor Championships.

“It would mean the world to get on the podium. It is always a dream of mine to medal at the Olympics and World Championships. This is the biggest stage, these are the best girls in the world, and I am just hoping to finish on top of the podium on Saturday night,” Ricketts told The Gleaner.

“It would continue to show that Jamaica is not just a sprint factory. We can produce athletes in other events, and that the field events are coming on well. Tajay Gayle, as you saw, did really well to win the long jump and it would be really good for the field events in Jamaica if we got a win here,” Ricketts added.

Jamaica’s other field events medal at the World Championships so far came from Fedrick Dacres, who won silver in the discus final and Danniel Thomas-Dodd, who also won silver in the women’s shot put final.

Meanwhile, Ricketts said she was pleased with her execution yesterday and is looking forward to push on in the final.

“Tonight (last night) shows that I am able to jump what’s necessary when the time comes. Tonight, we were asked to jump 14.30m (to qualify automatically), and I was able to produce 14.42m, which is way over the qualifier, and that’s motivation going into the final and I’m just hoping to improve on that in the final,” Ricketts said.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com

Ricketts’ progression:

2019 14.93m Zürich August 29

2018 14.61m London July 15

2017 14.45m Zagreb August 29

2016 14.57m Kingston April 29

2015 14.23m San José August 7

2014 14.00m Eugene June 13

2013 14.15m Las Vegas May 11

2012 13.64m Kingston July 1

2011 12.90m Walnut April 15

2010 12.29m Kingston March 24