Nike Talks World Indoors 2018: Week 4, Day 7: Runblogrun looks back at Portland 2016 and the emergence of Yulimar Rojas

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For the next five weeks, Nike is sponsoring a daily homage to the World Indoors. From Monday to Friday, we feature athletes from US, UK, Europe, Africa and Asia. On Saturdays and Sundays, we feature a great moment from World Indoor Championship history, again thanks to sponsor, Nike. We hope that you like this series.

Today, we feature, for Week Four, Day 7, we feature how Yulimar Rojas took her first global title in Portland for the TJ crown.

For more information on the World Indoors Birmingham in March 2018, please go to www.wicbirmingham2018.com .Rojas_Yulimar-Worldi16.jpg

Yulimar Rojas, photo by PhotoRun.net

Yulimar Rojas won her first global title at the Portland World Indoor Championships in March 2016. Rojas had been coached by jump coach Ivan Pedroso. Pedroso, representing Cuba, won four World Outdoor Championships, five World Indoor Championships and the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Pedroso had watched Rojas compete and in 2015 approached her about joining his training group in Guadelajara, Mexico.

Rojas_YulimarFL-Worlds16.jpgYulimar Rojas, photo by PhotoRun.net

Pedroso began working on Rojas techinique. Rojas told the IAAF, that in the four months he worked with Rojas in 2015, he worked on her weaknesses. "In the past four months we have been putting emphasis on improving her strength," noted Pedroso. "It takes longer because she is a very tall athlete. We will then focus on the technical aspects to create a solid base before competing outdoors."

Yulimar Rojas at 1.92m (6'4") was a jumper. She took two silver medals as juniors in the high jump, with a South American record of 1.87m (6'1.5") and a long jump PB of 6.23 meters (20'5.75").

In 2014, Rojas tried the Triple jump for the first time, leaped 13.57m and missed the Venezualan record by 8 centimeters!

Rojas began focusing on the long jump and triple jump in the 2014 South American U-23 Championships, taking golds in 2014 in both the TJ and LJ, leaping 6.36 meters in the LJ! Her forays into the senior events, at the South American Championships gave her fourths in both the TJ and LJ.

2015 was a year of changes, as Rojas won the TJ at the 2015 South American Championships (14.14m) and fourth in the LJ (6.29m).

In the fall of 2015, Rojas began working with Ivan Pedroso. The Cuban long jump star ( a pb of 8.71m, who also had a wind aided 8.96m), coached Teddy Tamgho, the French star who won the Moscow 2013 championships.

In Portland, Yulimar Rojas took the lead from jump two, leaping 14.41m, after opening with a foul. Pedroso hoped that her jump, while short on technique would hold the day.

Kristian Gierich, from Germany, had six developing jumps, starting with 13.73m in attempt 1. Gierisch went 13.73m, 14.07m, 13.92m, 14.16m, then, boom, 14.30m, getting close to Rojas.

Rojas jumped a foul, 14.41m, then four more fouls.

On Gierich last attempt, she cleared 14.08m, taking the silver, with Rojas holding on to the gold.

In third, Greek TJer, Paraskevi Papharistou, had one good jump. A foul, then, 14.15m, then four more fouls, taking the bronze.

In fourth, and oh so close, Kentura Orji leaped 14.14m on her last attempt, missing bronze by one centimer.

After her gold medal, Yulimar Rojas, so proud of bringing home Venezuala's first medal since 1952, noted to the assembled media: "Things are only starting now," noted the proud gold medalist. "I look forward to the outdoor season. This win has given me a lot of confidence in my abilities. It showed I can stay consistent around 14.50m. My potential has no limits. I will focus on getting my body ready, improving my technique and my run-up to reach the Rio Olympics in the best shape possible."

Yulimar Rojas won her first title in Portland.

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