From one elite jumper to another
Trecia Smith lauds consistency of Shanieka Ricketts
THE CONSISTENCY of triple jumper Shanieka Ricketts hasn’t gone unnoticed. The 2005 world champion, Trecia Smith, has praised the two-time world runner-up and hailed a Jamaican breakthrough in the event seen at the World Championships in Eugene,...
THE CONSISTENCY of triple jumper Shanieka Ricketts hasn’t gone unnoticed.
The 2005 world champion, Trecia Smith, has praised the two-time world runner-up and hailed a Jamaican breakthrough in the event seen at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
Ricketts produced a first-round distance of 14.89 metres to win a repeat of her 2019 silver medal behind Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela and, in an interview yesterday, Smith said it was a case of hard work paying off.
Noting that Ricketts also finished fourth in last year’s Olympics, she said: “She has been performing consistently over the years so I was very happy to see that her hard work paid off but if I’m being honest, I’d love to see her a little bit more competitive with Rojas.”
The Venezuelan won by a triple jumper’s mile and Smith is backing Ricketts to close the gap.
“I know Rojas is in a world by herself but just the fact that she’s out there and establishing new marks, the competitor in me would be like, just OK, let me get close to her if I can and that’s the only part of the results that I kinda didn’t like because she practically stomped the field,” said Smith.
The first step in the process is for Ricketts to break 15 metres.
“I would love to see Shanieka break that 15-metre barrier. It’s there. It’s within her capabilities. It is and it’s time,” encouraged the woman who did it during her career, including the national record of 15.16.
Ricketts’ personal best is close – 14.98 metres.
At the Olympics, Ricketts got into early foul trouble, but in Eugene, she got her best jump in the first round.
“It is a big pressure to start off the competition with a foul but ever since I’ve been competing in the jumps, the key for me is to get a first mark in. You know, get on the board, get that first distance in. It doesn’t have to be the biggest. You know, you put yourself in contention and for the rest, you just compete because you already have a mark and you can play and relax and enjoy yourself after that first one.”
Smith was just as happy that, for the first time, Jamaica placed three athletes in a World/Olympic field event final.
“That’s the biggest takeaway from this week’s competition, the biggest thing ever,” she said, bubbling with admiration for Ricketts, 4-time finalist Kimberly Williams and newcomer Ackelia Smith.
Williams, the World Indoor bronze medallist in March, was 7th in Eugene, with Smith, 12th.
“So it’s the biggest thing and I’m very excited about young Smith, another Smith in the final. I was very excited about that because it’s her first major, senior competition and she actually made it to the final. I would have loved to see her get into the top eight but it’s a very good attempt on her very first one,” Smith, the elder, praised.