Wed | Aug 12, 2020

‘The wrong move!’ - Trecia Smith blasts IAAF decision to cut Diamond League final events

Published:Tuesday | November 19, 2019 | 12:40 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

“A travesty.” That’s how Jamaica’s 2005 triple jump world champion Trecia Smith has described the recent cuts to the range of events contested on the Diamond League circuit. The national record holder said the cuts will restrict fans to seeing the best athletes in the removed events only in major events like the World Championships and the Olympics.

The 200m, the 3000m steeplechase, the 5000m, the shot put, discus and triple jump will not be part of the track and field showcase series next year, but the 2004 and 2012 Olympic triple jump finalist is particularly concerned for the field events.

“I think it’s a travesty actually because, as we see, the field events are very competitive,” she said. “On the field, if you don’t bring your ‘A’ game, that makes it very exciting, makes it very competitive and over the years, you’ve seen how close the winners are, triple jump, men and women, it comes down to the last jump.”

In reference to the field event cuts, she continued, “Everybody from all corners of the world are producing athletes that are very good in the field events and it’s a travesty because now you’re telling them that you’re not going to showcase their talents. You’re just going to wait until the World Championships or the Olympics for people to see the calibre that developing countries are producing. It’s the wrong move, overall.”

The change comes at a time when the triple jump world record is under threat. Smith feels that Inessa Kravets’ mark of 15.50m, set in 1995, is in grave danger from a trio led by 2017 and 2019 World champion Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela.

“Well I see two front-runners right now, maybe three, Rojas definitely. At PanAm Games, she produced a monster, but that was a foul. So Rojas definitely, she hits that right and she will clear that and put it in another level,” Smith said of Rojas who jumped 15.41m this season.

Smith believes Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts, and reigning Olympic champion Caterine Ibargüen of Colombia also have world record potential.

“Our girl Shanieka, if she gets it right too, she can challenge,” she said. “She can definitely get up there and I’m hoping that the Colombian comes back around and adds to the mix because the more people you have going over a certain distance, the better it is for the event – the more you’re going to see people push through to the 15, high 15s, maybe 16m.”

Smith’s national record is 15.16m.