Yulimar Rojas in the triple jump at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 (© Getty Images)
Yulimar Rojas only got in one valid jump but it was all that was needed for the Spain-based jumper, coached by Cuban long jump great Ivan Pedroso, to get Venezuela’s first senior global title.
Indeed, her second-round effort of 14.41m notched up her country’s first medal of any hue at this competition.
The fact that it was also the shortest ever winning distance in World Indoor Championships history clearly meant little to the delighted 20-year-old as she embarked on a lap of honour.
Rojas has been this season’s best jumper, far in advance of the other women around the world with her world-leading 14.69m in Madrid in January and her winning distance in Portland was also better than anyone else has achieved so far in 2016.
Nevertheless, with limited international experience – despite a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games and winning the South American title last summer – there was still a question mark about how she would fare with the spotlight firmly on her.
After a first-round foul, she gave her answer. Four more fouls followed but she was savvy enough to realise there was no one likely to challenge her and she remains unbeaten after five contests this year.
Germany’s Kristin Gierisch, second on the list of entries behind Rojas, moved into second place with her fourth-round 14.16m and then improved to a season’s best of 14.30m to clinch the silver medal with her penultimate effort.
In what was, truthfully, a low-quality competition in comparison to previous editions, Greece’s Paraskevi Paphristou took the bronze with 14.15m in the second round.
In fact, the Greek jumper briefly held the lead as she was jumping before Rojas in the initial rotation for the first three rounds, before Rojas produced her winning jump as the last of the 15-strong field to go to on the runway.
One major disappointment was the performance of Iryna Vaskouskaya, who was third on the list of entries with a career best of 14.23m when winning the Belarusian title last month but, like her compatriot Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova in the long jump on Friday, chose the wrong time to have her worst competition of the winter and finished a lowly 13th with just 13.28m.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF