EUGENE, Oregon – Vashti Cunningham, the IAAF World Indoor champion from Portland 2016, will make her outdoor debut as a professional athlete at the 2016 Prefontaine Classic – IAAF Diamond League meeting on 28 May, organisers announced on Monday.
Cunningham was impressive during the indoor season, this after becoming the youngest-ever woman to win a gold medal at the World Indoor Championships, and the 18-year-old, who targets a place on USA’s team to the Olympic Games at Rio 2016, hopes to carry over that form into the outdoor campaign.
She is expected to be well tested at the 2016 Prefontaine Classic in Oregon, with the likes of Ruth Beitia of Spain, Kamila Licwinko of Poland and Italy’s Alessia Trost also confirmed to compete at the meeting as well.
The senior at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, jumped 1.99m during the indoor season, the highest clearance by an 18-year-old in over 25 years and the best ever for that age group indoors.
In fact, Cunningham personal best ranks her third among Americans of any age indoors behind Chaunte Lowe’s 2.02m clearance in 2012.
Two-time European Championships gold medallists Beitia won silver behind Cunningham at the World Indoors after both cleared 1.96m, but the American collected the gold on countback misses.
Beitia, the reigning Diamond League winner, was third at the 2014 Prefontaine Classic.
Poland’s 2014 World Indoor champion and the bronze medallist from the 2016 championships, Licwinko, as well as former World Youth Championships and World Junior Championships gold medal winner, Trost of Italy are the other two athletes who have gone over the two-metre mark in their career.
Listed to compete as well are Airine Palsyte of Lithuania, the World University Games champion in China, last summer, Levern Spencer, the St. Lucian national record holder and the best among Caribbean jumpers, as well as Germany’s Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch and Isobel Pooley of Great Britain.