What can we expect from Yohan Blake in Doha in September?

By August 19, 2019
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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  • Shanieka Ricketts expected to mount gold-medal challenge in Doha Shanieka Ricketts expected to mount gold-medal challenge in Doha

    When it comes to the triple jump there were two women who stood head and shoulders over everybody, now there are three.

    Shanieka Ricketts has emerged this season as a serious medal contender in the triple jump and should be one of the three to take home silverware from Doha in Qatar.

    This season, Ricketts has taken her personal best from 14.61 seconds to 14.93 metres when she won the Diamond League trophy last month.

    But more than just having those one-off leaps, Ricketts has maintained a level of consistency she hasn’t in seasons past, landing in the sand at more than 14.5 metres with some regularity.

    That movement means Ricketts can challenge the relative dominance of Yulimar Rojas and the potential comeback of Caterine Ibarguen.

    In truth, Rojas stands on her own if she’s really feeling it.

    Only one woman, world record-holder Inessa Kravets, has ever triple jumped farther. Considering the company the 23-year-old Venezuelan is now keeping on the world all-time list, she'll be difficult to stop as she seeks to successfully defend her title and join Caterine Ibarguen, Yargelis Savigne and Tatyana Lebedeva as a two-time (and back-to-back) world champion.

    Rojas has won six of her eight outdoor competitions this year, sailing beyond 15 metres in half of them. Her most impressive performance came in her most recent outing when she bound to 15.41m in Andujar, Spain, on 6 September, the second farthest leap of all time. She went beyond 15 metres twice in that competition, shaking out the rust out with a 15.03m effort in the second round.

    Rojas has struggled with her consistency in the past, but has improved on that front as well this season, adding to the difficulty her competitors can expect in Doha.

    She has lost twice this season, once to Ibarguen, whom she succeeded as world champion in London two years ago, and to Jamaican champion Shanieka Ricketts at the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich. Both have the capabilities to throw serious challenges at the Venezuelan.

    Ibarguen, the 2018 World Athlete of the Year, has competed sparingly, choosing to divide her attentions between the long and triple jumps, competing four times in each. She reached 14.79m in Oslo and a season's best of 14.89m in Lausanne to secure a pair of Diamond League circuit victories, but she hasn't contested the triple jump since 11 July when she finished a distant sixth in the port-side competition in Monaco, reaching just 14.33m. But considering her war chest of medals, we can expect she'll arrive in Doha ready.

    After the season's big three, others will have to spring a fairly big surprise to figure in the medal hunt.

    Leading that charge is rising Cuban star Liadagmis Povea who improved her lifetime best to 14.77m to finish third in Lausanne. She also finished second in Monaco with 14.71m and third at the Pan-American Games and the Diamond League final.

    US champion Keturah Orji improved her career best to 14.72m to finish third in Paris but more recently was a distant fourth in Zurich.

    Spain's world indoor bronze medallist Ana Peleteiro leads the European charge. But the 23-year-old will need to do considerably better than her 14.59m season's best to challenge for the podium. Likewise for Jamaican Kimberly Williams, the world indoor silver medallist and finalist at this championships in 2013, 2015 and 2017, who has reached 14.56m this season.

  • Thomas-Dodd will have to overcome flawless Lijiao for World title Thomas-Dodd will have to overcome flawless Lijiao for World title

    Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas-Dodd is one of the three best shot putters in the world but this season she has struggled for consistency.

    The same cannot be said of the two women who are likely to battle for the number-one spot in Doha, Qatar this weekend.

    Gong Lijiao of China has been on top of almost every podium this season, only failing once, when United States star, Chase Ealy usurped her on debut in the 2019 Diamond League.

    That blip meant Gong won 12 of her 13 competitions in 2019, producing the four best throws this year, capped by her 20.31m effort to win another IAAF Diamond League title, her third straight, in Zurich last month.

    With a gap of more than 60 centimetres on her nearest competitor, Gong will start as one of the heaviest favourites at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics. A medal of any kind will be her sixth at the World Championships, a record for the event.

    Thomas-Dodd, on the other hand, despite throwing 19.48 metres in April, a national record, before erasing the mark in August with 19.55, cannot say she has been in the best form heading into the championships.

    Ealy’s statistics puts her ahead of Dodd, the World Indoor silver medallist, after she blasted onto the scene in April this year, throwing 19.67 metres and going on to show it was no fluke with nine of her next 12 competitive marks going over the 19-metre mark. Her best this season and over the course of her career, came in Zurich during the Diamond League final, which suggests she’s peaking at the right time. She threw 19.68 metres for second at the Diamond League final.

    Behind that trio, the picture is less clear. Five other women have thrown beyond 19 metres outdoors this season, Maggie Ewen, another US thrower on the rise, the most recent. The 25-year-old produced the best throw of her career, 19.48m, to win the US-Europe match on 10 September. But that was the only 19-metre-plus effort of the season for the multi-talented thrower who won NCAA titles in the shot put, discus and hammer during her collegiate career.

    Christina Schwanitz, the 2015 world champion, is still showing solid form, and can't be discounted in the chase for podium spots. The 33-year-old German has reached 19.37m this season.

    Brittany Crew (19.28m) of Canada, Aliona Dubitskaya (19.21m) and Sweden's Fanny Roos (19.06m) have also breached 19 metres this season but will have to produce breakout performances to be a factor.

    Others to watch include Hungary's world indoor champion Anita Marton, European champion Paulina Guba of Poland, and Olympic champion Michelle Carter of the US.

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