it was one of those mornings where you wish you hadn’t woken up yet and everything that has happened is just a bad dream for european indoor champion naide gomes. Unfortunately for the Portuguese record holder and world leader of the season, it was all very true.
To date, the 28-year-old European champion has had the best season of her life, starting with an indoor national record of 7.00m in Valencia, an outdoor national record of 7.04m in Stockholm and a further improvement to 7.14m in his last warm-up meeting before beijing in monaco.
Reading: Women’s long jump olympic qualifying
the fairy tale would not have a happy ending, as gomes could only achieve a miserable effort of 6.25m in the third and final round after two fouls. He hadn’t jumped this bad since the year 2000!
and to add to the disappointment, each of gomes’ fouls was unequivocally over the 7 meter barrier.
gomes was the unfortunate leader of a long list of unclassified notables in a session reserved exclusively for women (this morning only the first heat of the women’s javelin and women’s 200 m were disputed).
Olympic silver medalist defending tatyana kotova missed the cut as she only managed a second round of 6.57m. she committed a long foul on her last attempt, which meant that she would not compete in her third consecutive Olympic final.
after winning bronze in the triple jump, hrysopiyi devetzi also tried her hand in the long jump, but also had to settle for 6.57m, a result that turned out to be just 3 centimeters shy of the last qualifying mark for the end.
concepción montaner, former world junior champion from spain, and bronwyn thompson, finalist at the athens olympics, were the next to fail, as both fouled on their last attempt in a desperate effort to reach the final. final. in both cases, it seemed like they could have done it if the flag hadn’t been red.
triple jump world champion yargelis savigne, like gomes, opened with two fouls. her third was a mediocre 6.49 m, well below the class to which the Cuban is accustomed.
however, the disappearance of so many specialists shouldn’t take anything away from the twelve women who advanced to Friday’s final, three of whom exceeded the qualifying standard of 6.75m. American champion Brittney Reese posted the day’s best with a second round of 6.87m, just 6cm shy of her personal best.
South American record holder Maurren Higa Maggi also passed for the second time in 6.79m with Heptathlon silver medalist Lyudmila Blonska posting a season best 6.76m to be the automatic third runner-up in 6.76m.
Defending Olympic champion Tatyana Lebedeva, who was second in the women’s triple jump two days ago, is still in the running to become the first woman to win consecutive Olympic titles in the long jump with her second round being 6.70 m the best of the non-automatic qualifiers.
only heike drechsler has won two olympic gold medals in the event, but that was 8 years apart.
another reigning olympic champion reached the final as carolina klüft, arguably the best female athlete of the last decade, equaled lebedeva’s 6.70m. After failing to advance to the triple jump final, Klüft looks capable of setting up what could be a fantastic upset in the long jump final.
In contrast to the men’s event, the three representatives from usa. uu. they managed to finish in the top 12, grace upshaw sixth at 6.68m and funmilayo jimoh 10th at 6.61m alongside reese. Jimoh, 24, third in the US trials, was one of no fewer than four athletes to advance with a third-round attempt.
Behind her, Russia’s Oksana Udmurtova jumped to a desperate height of 6.63 m, which would be enough to pass by only 3 centimeters. The same scenario played out in Group B when first Kelia Costa, the second Brazilian, regrouped to land at 6.62m and then Jade Johnson, who was seventh at the Athens Games, jumped to 6.61m with the penultimate jump. of the day.
The British champion took a long time to recover from the shock of not making it after a look of incredible relief appeared on her face.
Her effort meant Nigeria’s blessing, Okagbare, would have to watch the final from the stands after the 19-year-old managed to jump into final qualifying position with her final round attempt of 6.59m.
The two remaining qualifiers came from group a. Tabia Charles of Canada’s 6.61m second round effort and Chelsea Hammond of Jamaica’s 6.60m first round effort surviving attacks that come from all angles.
As is often the case, every inch mattered.
laura arcoleo for the iaaf