TOKYO, Japan – World Championships silver medalist Shanieka Ricketts is seemingly heading into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the shape of her life and is targeting the 15 meters landmark when she lines up in the women’s triple jump competition.
Ricketts enters the Games with a personal best of 14.98m, set early in the outdoor season at the Doha Diamond League meet in May, and after flirting with exceeding the 15m barrier three times in her career, the Jamaican is now ready to do something special, according to her husband and personal coach Kerry-Lee Ricketts.
“The first thing, she is healthy and I think she is in the best shape of her career,” Kerry-Lee Ricketts was quoted as saying about his wife in the Jamaica Gleaner.
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“Based on the early indicators, she went 14.98m this season, and we are seeing better numbers now so we should see something beyond her personal best.”
Shanieka captured a silver medal at the 2019 world championships in Doha, behind Venezuelan star Yulimar Rojas, who will start as the favorite to improve on the silver medal she won at the 2016 Games in Rio.
With Rojas already posting 11 marks over 15 meters this season and has her eyes firmly set on the 15.50m world record, the Jamaican will almost certainly need to improve her personal best significantly if she is to win the gold medal at her second Olympic Games.
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The Jamaican national record is 15.16m, set in 2004 by Trecia Smith in Linz, the world champion in 2005.
“Well, it’s an Olympic year and I’m sure everyone will be coming out to deliver,” Kerry-Lee Ricketts added in the local newspaper. “She [Shanieka] is in the top two so far but we are not taking anything for granted.
“[Yulimar] Rojas will be coming to get the world record, we have a few people at 14.9m, Kimberly Williams is also there, so everyone will be coming with their ‘A’ game and we have to go there and treat it like any major championships,” he said.
“Shanieka does well under pressure. She trains with males at The University of West Indies where I used to coach, and still have a camp there, the Ricketts Performance Centre, so we create these similar situations in training with the boys, so when it comes to a major championship, it’s not anything new to her.
“She’s more confident and she knows what she wants. She approaches every training session with an objection.”
Shanieka’s 2019 season was her best so far, in terms of consistency, with eight of her best performances coming during that campaign.
The women’s triple jump competition will begin on the first day of track and field action on July 30. Fans in the United States and Jamaica will see the qualification round on Friday at 6:05 a.m. ET (5:05 a.m. Jamaica time).
The women’s triple jump final is slated for Sunday, August 1 at 7:15 a.m. ET.