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Soaring - Ricketts aims big after strong start

Published:Friday | January 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

With her confidence boosted by a massive jump last week, triple jumper Shanieka Ricketts is thinking big. The 2015 and 2017 World Championships finalist hopes to be selected for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in March and the Commonwealth Games in April. If that happens, Ricketts will go to those meets hoping to win.

The six-foot tall 2016 Olympian opened her 2018 campaign with a display of mid-season form at the first staging of the Ted Dwyer Classic at the EXED Community College on January 6. While most athletes eased into the New Year, she christened the new Excelsior runway with a mark of 14.49 metres.

"Obviously, I didn't expect to jump that much because it's only January," she beamed a few days afterwards.

The early blast is further than she jumped throughout 2017 and is not far away from her lifetime best of 14.57 metres.

"To be honest, it didn't feel all that great because I was feeling some tension in my hip and my lower back, but technically, I felt like I did what I was working on in training, so that was a good thing," the former Vere Technical High athlete explained. "We've been working on getting the extension, bringing the speed through the phases, and I felt that. So those were two creditable parts of the jump, so I was pleased with it."


Solid team


The 'we' she mentions incorporates her coach and husband, Kerry Lee Ricketts, whose stable of jumpers is based at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies.

The bright start to her 2018 endeavours has her looking ahead.

"I would have to wait and see if I'm selected of course, but definitely, I would want to be at World Indoors and at Commonwealth as well", she demurred.

She was eighth at the last World Indoors and wants to do better this time when the meet is contested in Birmingham, England.

"I didn't do as well as I hoped, as I was not in the form I am now, so hopefully, I can go there, once selected, and do something good," she said.

Reminded that Jamaica has won the triple jump at the last three Commonwealth Games through Trecia-Kaye Smith in 2006 and 2010 and Kimberley Williams in 2014, Ricketts hopes to follow suit.

"Commonwealth Games and World Indoors, those are the two biggest events that we have this year, so my goal for those two is to win, just like everyone else," she asserted. "So it's just making sure that I'm doing everything that I can do from my end to ensure that's possible."