Yulimar Rojas, photo by Getty Images for World Athletics
This is Deji Ogeyingbo’s column on Day 3, the last day of the World Indoor Champs. Deji wrote a column a day, plus a brilliant column on Ese Brome.
Rojas roared to a new Indoor World Record in the Triple Jump, Duplantis soared in the Pole Vault as Ethiopia topped the medals table on the final day in Belgrade
After three days of exceptional indoor running and jumping, we have finally come to the end of what has been a great advert for athletics as Day three saw Yulimar Rojas roaring to a new Indoor Record in the Triple Jump, Mondo Duplantis showed that he is a legend living among mortals after yet another record-extending jump in the Pole Vault and Samuel Tefara’s upset of Jakob Ingebrigtsen ensures Ethiopia top the medals table.
The legend of Yulimar Rojas Continues
Yulimar Rojas, new WR in Belgrade, photo by Getty Images for World Athletics
At what point do you say someone is a legend in a sport. Is it by the number of medals won at global championships? Or maybe the amount of World Records they break? If you combine those criteria and make them into a human being, then you will have Yulimar Rojas.
Since winning her first world indoor title in Portland in 2016, Rojas has retained it, claimed two World Championships wins outdoors, become the Olympic champion, and broken world records both indoors and outdoors. She went beyond 15m in all eight of her competitions last summer.
Rojas has been in a world of her own in the women’s Triple Jump and what we witnessed in Belgrade was just her solidifying her status as the greatest Triple Jumper of all time. And we have had Catherine Ibarguen in the last decade give us something special, too.
In the final of the women’s Triple Jump, Rojas was literally competing against herself. There was no doubt she was going to win. What she was after was taking down her indoor record which she had set two years ago. “Nothing is impossible” she always says, and truly, she roared.
After leading into the final round of jump, Rojas leaped to a new Indoor World Record of 15,74m, a full meter ahead of her rivals. Her showmanship and electrifying buzz were just a beauty to behold.
As she sat at the Stark arena almost an hour after she broke the record trying to savor the moment and enjoy every last bit of it, you could sense that Rojas was thinking about the next big thing. “I was born to jump 16m”. How can someone even think about that? Well, if anyone has earned the right to do so, it’s the Venezuelan.
Rojas has been able to use her physical gifts to transform her life. She talks a great deal too. Her coach, Ivan Pedroso knows there’s still more to be achieved. His accolades are some of the things that spur his athletes on. Rojas is one such athlete. Despite her laurels, she knows she can still reach for more stars. How many? The world waits with bated breath.
Mondo Duplantis soars to a new World Indoor Record
Mondo Duplantis, photo by Getty Images for World Athletics
From the sublime to the ridiculous. Cometh the man, cometh the king of pole vault. Mondo Duplantis is in a world of his own and we are just living it.
After trying over 50 times to break 6.19m, Duplantis didn’t need up to a month to go 0.01m higher thereby extending his world record in the men’s Pole Vault. Mondo won’t stop, winning gold, the guy who continues to soar higher and laugh heartily at the idea of any kind of limit.
For the first time ever, a man has picked up a long piece of fiberglass and hoisted himself more than 6.20m in the air. It seemed impossible, but not to Duplantis. He just knows how to rise up when the ovation is loudest. At such a tender age, his name is already written amongst the great.
The Legendary Sergey Bubka who won three world indoor titles reached 6.15m as his best indoors and 6.00m on his way to winning one of his three indoor crowns. Take nothing away from the Ukrainian, but Duplantis is just a beast and is flying in a world of his own at the moment.
He seemed to have nudged away some of the fading stars of the Pole vault in the last decade like Renaud Lavillenie and Sam Kendricks. In Belgrade, there were younger and tougher competitors in the mold of Brazil’s Thiago Braz and USA’s Chris Nilsen. Those two fell by the wayside. Duplantis is just top-notch.
Another day in the office for Grant Holloway
Talking about top-notch, another athlete that fits that bill is USA’s, Grant Holloway. Hell, the boy is so good, that he can clip a hurdle an almighty clatter midway through a 60m race in a final and still run under 7.40, – the 14th time he is doing that in his career, winning his first straight world indoor title.
Grant Holloway, 2022 USATF Indoors, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto
It took him 7.39 seconds to do so. The second was Pascal Martinot Lagarde in 7.50, with USA’s Jarret Eaton third in 7.53.
Maybe the wallop of the third hurdle must have given the likes of Lagarde and Eaton the smallest of chances to take advantage, but not when you are competing against a Holloway who has never lost a 60m race in his career. He wasn’t going to relinquish that record such easily.
That’s what makes champions. A little setback, and immediately, you get back to the task at hand. In the hurdles, we are talking milliseconds. Holloway streaked clear of the field afterward to take the crown. Less we forget, he equaled his World Indoor Record in the semis when he clocked 7.29.
Tefera is still the indoor king, as his win leads Ethiopia to top the medals table
With a blistering and mind-boggling last 40m, Samuel Tefera retained his world indoor 1500m and pulled off a major upset by defeating tournament favorite, Jakob Ingebrigtsen.
Samuel Tefera defends his 1,500m title from Birmingham 2018, photo by Getty Images for World Athletics
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, given Tefera held the world indoor record before Jakob Ingebrigtsen broke it earlier this year and was, after all, the reigning champion. On the night, he just was the better runner as he clocked a new Championship record of 3:32.77.
The win ensured that his country Ethiopia become the first African country to top the medals table at the Indoor Championships. They finished with four golds, three Silver, and two Bronze.
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