Mon | Dec 4, 2023

Ricketts on a high after ‘electrifying’ end to 2023 season

Published:Friday | September 22, 2023 | 12:07 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
Shanieka Ricketts
Shanieka Ricketts

National triple jumper Shanieka Ricketts is on a high following a satisfactory end to the 2023 track and field season.

Ricketts, after her fourth-place finish in the event at the Budapest World Championships, went over 15 metres for the first time in her career after 15.00 metres in Brussels, then 15.01 and 15.03 metres at the Eugene Diamond League final, where she ended second.

“It feels good to have such an electrifying end to the season and this sets the tone for next year,” Ricketts said.

According to the 31-year-old Ricketts, her goal was always to go over the 15 metres mark.

“It has always been my goal to achieve 15 metres in competition. I am just excited that it is finally here. I am not by any means surprised as I knew we had accomplished most of our technical targets for 2023,” she stated.

Ricketts also spoke about her performance at the World Championships. “To be fourth in Budapest was not the result I had hoped for. However, the results testified that it was one of the most competitive ever for this event, maybe in a decade or more. I was fourth with 14.93m while fifth was 14.90m and sixth 14.87m, all of which would be on the podium in past stagings of the World Championships,” she said.

“Earlier in the season, and even weeks leading up to the World Championships, I wasn’t sure of what to expect as I was still doing rehabilitation work due to injury,” added Ricketts, who firmly believes that without the early injury her result in Budapest would have been much better.

“I knew that there were two of my jumps that were in excess of 15 metres, but this did not show as I was just not on the board,” she said. “Coach told me all I had to do in the competition was to fix my approach so I am on the board and not giving away 20 or 30 centimetres on a 14.9 jump, for example, and I should register 15 metres.”

Ricketts was grateful for the post World Championships competitions. “My coach and I are both grateful to have the the opportunity to compete at high-level competition post-World Championships. This gave us a chance to realise our long-term goal.”

Ricketts, who was fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, is hoping for great things next year in Paris.

“To close my season at the Diamond League with a personal best 15.03 metres, it does give me a boost going into the Paris Olympics. The aim now is to not just be consistent over 15 metres but to have a bigger target,” she said.