Sunday, 09 August 2009

Men's Triple Jump - PREVIEW

17.59m leap for Nelson Evora in Leiria  (Getty Images)

17.59m leap for Nelson Evora in Leiria (Getty Images)


    • Cuban David Giralt triple jumping in Rio
    • Phillips Idowu jumps to the silver medal in the Olympic triple jump final
    Already 2009 has been a superb year for triple jumping with five men over 17.60m – a similar standard to the 2004 season. Heading into Berlin as the favourite will be current World and Olympic champion Nelson Évora, but given the high standard of the event there could very well be a surprise winner instead.

    Portugese jumper Évora did not enter Beijing or Osaka as the world leader, but came away with the gold medal on both occasions. This year Évora leads the world with his 17.66m (and a wind-assisted 17.82m), which makes him an even bigger favourite.

    David Giralt leapt 17.52m in last year’s Olympic final yet still missed out on a medal. This year Giralt – and his Cuban team-mates – have bounced back with some force, and Cuba will go into the World championships with three 17.60m+ jumpers. Not since the days of the Soviet Union in the early Nineties has one nation possessed so much triple-jumping talent.

    Former World junior champion Giralt has broken 17 metres in all of his 16 competitions this year, producing his three best ever jumps (17.62m, 17.61m and 17.57m). Yoandri Betanzos has jumped the furthest of the Cubans this year with a 17.65m PB, but he is more inconsistent than his team-mates. Alexis Copello also has a 17.65m jump to his name this year, but is the youngest and most inexperienced of the Cuban Triple jJump representatives. His ability to jump far – and potential to spring a surprise – is undeniable, however.

    But one of the most fired-up triple jumpers in Berlin will be Britain’s Phillips Idowu. The 30-year-old won last year’s World indoor title and went into Beijing with an unbeaten record. Although he jumped a season’s best of 17.62m, he came away from Beijing bitterly disappointed with his silver medal. Idowu has twice jumped over 17.60m this year and is desperate to win his first global outdoor title.

    Looking past the world’s top five jumpers this year, there are a host of other athletes with the potential to challenge for a medal. World junior champion Teddy Tamgho of France leapt 17.58m indoors, and although he has only managed 17.11m outdoors, his recent results indicate a late-summer peak that could climax in Berlin.

    Jadel Gregorio of Brazil has finished in the top six in all of his global championship appearances since 2003, and is the reigning World silver medallist. Meanwhile, Caribbean jumpers Randy Lewis of Grenada and Olympic bronze medallist Leevan Sands of the Bahamas are always strong threats.

    Italy have enjoyed some good success in this event this year with Fabrizio Donato winning the European indoor title with a PB of 17.59m, Fabrizio Schemberi won the Italian title with a 17.27m PB, and Daniel Greco improved massively to win the European under-23 title in 17.20m. Donato, however, has been injured for the majority of the outdoor season so may not be at his best in Berlin.

    Other outside contenders include US champion Brandon Roulhac (bests of 17.26m/17.44w), Bulgaria’s Momchil Karailiev (17.41m PB) and recent Haitian record-setter Samyr Laine, who improved from 16.72m to 17.39m in the space of one competition.

    Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF