Pleased with her progress, World Championship silver medalist Shanieka Ricketts wants to jump far this year

By April 08, 2021

The global pandemic has been frustrating for many athletes, who have been unable to compete and consequently earn their keep. However, for some it is an opportunity to hone their craft, to become even better than they were before.

Such is the case of World Championship silver medalist Shanieka Ricketts, who uncorked a world-leading 14.63m triple jump at the National Stadium in Kingston on March 20.

The mark was 13cm shy of her best ever opener of 14.76m in 2019, and 30cm off her personal best, but it was an early indication of how much she had worked to improve in the time she was unable to compete in 2020 because of the many cancellations of track and field meets as the Covid-19 virus raced across the world.

Ricketts, who turned 29 in February, had one of her best jumps at the World Championships in Doha where she produced a 14.92m effort to secure a silver medal behind Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas.

Now finally competing again, she expects to go even farther this year, maybe even getting closer to the Venezuelan, who won gold with her best jump of 15.37m.

Rickett’s confidence comes from the work that she and her coach and husband Kerrylee Ricketts have been putting in during their ‘down time’, and based on past experience, the likelihood that it will bear fruit.

“My step phase has improved since last year. The triple jump is very technical, so we are aiming to improve as many aspects of the jump as possible in order to surpass my personal best,” she said.

“Training is very different from competition, so it takes a while to get the hang of competing and getting back into top shape. We do our best to assimilate a competition-type environment in training so that it does not feel foreign once we begin to compete.

“It is definitely challenging to navigate from training to competition but proper preparation builds confidence and makes the transition more comfortable. The extra time gave us a chance to work on improving my strength and sprinting mechanics which are essential in doing well.”

The uncertainty of the season has impacted her ability to compete more frequently and bring those elements perfected in training to competition. However, once she gets the chance, jumping beyond 15m could be a lot closer to reality.

“I am pleased with where I am at this stage of the season. I am hoping to jump far this year, and I know that once I got the technical aspects of the jump correct, the distances will come,” she said.

“I am not in peak shape right now so I know that I will be able to produce bigger jumps as the season progresses.”

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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