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Event Preview Men's Long Jump

Ivan PEDROSO (CUB) comes to Paris having won four consecutive World Championships. Although Pedroso’s win in Edmonton was convincing, his season’s best, 8.31m, doesn’t actually make the Cuban the biggest favourite before the competition. This situation is not new for him however. In 2001 Pedroso was the world indoor champion, but before the Edmonton long jump he had only managed 8.18m outdoors. In the long jump final Pedroso finally bettered his season’s best by 22cm to 8.40m and won his fourth world title, so he cannot be forgotten about here either.

The man who’s in the best shape before Paris is Yago LAMELA (ESP), the silver medallist from Seville 1999. Lamela has been struggling with injuries for many years, but right now he seems to be in great form. In his recent competitions he has not only achieved good results, but has produced very impressive series of jumps, consistently over 8.30m. On 18 August he competed for the last time before the World Championships, and the result was a world leading 8.53m, only three centimetres less than his national record of 8.56m in 1999.

The United States has two athletes, Savante STRINGFELLOW and Dwight PHILLIPS, near the top of the world lists, but Stringfellow’s best of 8.46m was in April and Phillips has not competed since early July. Both Americans, however, have international experience. Stringfellow took the silver medal behind Ivan Pedroso in Edmonton, and Phillips is the 2003 world indoor champion.

Louis TSATOUMAS (GRE) has improved his personal best to 8.34m during this season and has many good competitions before Paris. Tsatoumas won the European Under 23 Championships at Bydgoszcz, Poland, with a result of 8.24m. James BECKFORD (JAM) is another experienced jumper and although his season’s best is only 8.21m, he always stands a chance to get to the podium.

Overall, the situation before Edmonton seems to be duplicated here. Pedroso is again a little behind the other top jumpers, but the Cuban, who has won all World Championships since 1995, could well do the trick again and take a breathtaking fifth successive win in the event.