So far this year the women’s long jump has extraordinary marks and, therefore, it is difficult to make medal predictions. Russia’s Tatyana KOTOVA must be named the favorite, although she was defeated at the National Championships by Olga RUBLYOVA who jumped to second place on the participants’ list with her mark of 6.89m. Kotova has reached 6.94m this year but she is the world indoor champion and last year’s 7.42m gives her an edge over other jumpers.
Jamaica’s Elva GOULBOURNE has shown consistency in jumping this year. Her 6.83m dates back to May and in Berlin in August she won with 6.77m. The 2002 Commonwealth champion will also be running the 100m dash, as well as the relay. Another Caribbean Aisha JAMES (TRI) jumped a national record of 6.78m in April but hasn’t shown herself on the European circuit.
The heptathlon duel between Eunice BARBER of France and Carolina KLÜFT of Sweden will be repeated in the long jump. On paper, Klüft is better with 6.86m to Barber’s 6.80m, but the question is, will they recover enough from the seven hard events less than a week earlier to compete at all.
Of previous champions still in form to compete, the 1995 triple jump gold medallist Inessa KRAVETS of Ukraine should be noted with 6.76m, along with Russia’s 1997 long jump champion, Lyudmila GALKINA, with 6.74m. Double world champion Fiona MAY (ITA) is also competing but she is not in form to defend her title.
The Greek pair, Niki XANTHOU and Stiliani PILATOU, placed fifth and sixth in the World Indoor Championships. This summer Xanthou has jumped 6.76m but Pilatou has faded from her indoor 6.80m to sub 6.60.
This year’s world lead, Brazilian’s Maurren Higa MAGGI is suspended pending the conclusion of an investigation into her drugs case.