Tue | Apr 7, 2020

Ricketts wants TJ world record

Published:Tuesday | February 25, 2020 | 12:23 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
Ricketts
Ricketts

After seeing her Venezuelan rival Yulimar Rojas break the world indoor triple jump record last Friday, Jamaica’s World Championships silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts remains confident of Olympic success this season and has targeted a record of her own – the 25-year-old outdoor world record, one of the oldest on the books.

Rojas, who beat Ricketts to the gold medal at the outdoor championships in Doha last year, landed at 15.43m last Friday at the Meeting Villa de Madrid, a World Athletics Indoor Tour meet, erasing the 16-year-old record of 15.36m, which was set by Russia’s Tanya Lebedeva.

The Venezuelan’s distance is two centimetres better than her outdoor personal best and is the second best mark of all time – indoor or outdoor. Only the outdoor world record of 15.50m, set by Ukraine’s Inessa Kravets in 1995, is better.

Rojas’ indoor world record solidifies her position as the favourite for the Olympic gold this year but Ricketts’ coach and husband Kerry-lee says the athlete is not daunted by the world champion’s form and remains confident of not only topping the podium in Tokyo, but also bettering Kravets’ outdoor world record this season.

“What she (Rojas) did was not a surprise, as that was expected, but nothing will change with Shanieka’s preparation for the upcoming season. We have an agenda and we are going to stick to our programme with a tunnel vision,” said coach Ricketts. “We know what to work on and what matters most.”

“Last year was a fabulous one for her (Ricketts) and preparation has been going on well so far. The focus is to go over the 15 metres mark and to break the outdoor world record,” the coach declared.

“This is definitely on the cards, as last year after winning the Diamond League in a personal best of 14.93 metres and finishing second in Doha, she can go much further and the focus now is getting the world record and this is possible,” he added.

SEASON PLAN

Ricketts has not competed indoors since 2018 and the coach noted that skipping that circuit was again part of their plan this season.

“The goal for her is strictly outdoors and the focus is on the Olympic Games where she is highly motivated to go all the way. We are in the third phase in her training programme and we have sat down together, spending time watching videos of her World Championships performance, to see how we can fix her problems and improve her performance this year,” said coach Ricketts.

“We are sticking to the goals we have set for this season and once we accomplish that, we will be happy,” he added.

Ricketts’ 14.93m personal best, which she set last year August in Zurich, makes her the second best Jamaican in the women’s triple jump event behind national record holder Trecia Kaye Smith, who has a best of 15.16m.