This story made Stuart Weir very happy. His note to me as Jazmin Sawyers went into the lead repeated Jazmin’s name about 8 times! Jazmin’s face on the All Athletics TV was one of pure joy at knowing that she had joined the seven-meter club! Jazmin is the British team captain this Indoor champs and she is always positive to the media and fans.
Congrats Jazmin Sawyers, we could see your joy all the way in Wisconsin!
A stellar women’s long jump
So often, field events are marginalized at events, but tonight the women’s long jump was center-stage, and boy did it deliver. Ivana Vulete, a past World and European Indoor champion, was the first-round leader with 6.76m. She improved that with 6.79m in round 2. Jazmin Sawyers had opened with a solid 6.70m. Malaika Mihambo with 6.67m, and Larissa Iapichino, long-jumper, daughter of long-jumper (Fiona May), jumped 6.64m followed by 6.74m. Consecutive fouls for Sawyers and Mihambo stopped their momentum.
In round 4, Vuleta recorded a third high at 6.70m, Sawyers a season’s best, but Mihambo found her range and took the lead with 6.83m. Round 5 was the decisive one. 6.91m by Iapichino, matched by Vuleta. Then Jazmin Sawyers produced what she knew was good. After an interminable wait, 7 meters was registered.
In the final round, Iapichino jumped long, waited, and hoped – 6.97m, Vuleta produced another 6.90, but it was not enough. Sawyers had the final jump, knowing she had won; it was a respectable 6.84m.
There was a lovely moment when Makaika Mihambo, the mistress of the 7-meter jump, came across to hug Sawyers and welcome her to the club. Kelly Hodgkinson, who had also just won gold at 800, also hugged her.
Jazmin joins Shara Proctor and Lorraine Ugen as the British 7m jumpers, and your correspondent was there on each occasion.
Jazmin’s reaction was: “It feels like it really, really has been a long time coming. I’ve never won anything. I am still in shock. I feel like the seven-meter jump has been in me for so long. I have been waiting for these seven meters to come out – forever. It has been so many years that for a bit, you think, ‘is it going to come?’.
“I jumped, got out of the pit, and was thinking, ‘OK, is probably enough to take the lead’. I didn’t want to look at it [on the screen] and get too excited because it can look further than it is; it can look less than it is. I just didn’t want to look. I was looking at the scoreboard and thinking, ‘is it a foul?’ because early doors, I had a good jump, and it was a foul. I’m staring at the board; it goes green – it took forever, or at least it felt like forever.
“A lot of it [her confidence] has come from this indoor season, being consistent over 6.70m and feeling really, really good. A big turning point was European outdoors last year when I reminded myself that I can get on podiums, and my training has been good.
“The number of people that have messaged telling me – some solicited, some less so – to run through the board. I’ve listened. I ran through the board. I knew I had the speed, but I was slowing down into the board before, and I figured a way to drive down the board, keep my knees up and seven meters!”
A few years ago, Jazmin took a very brave decision to leave the comfort of her homeland to go to the USA because she believed that Lance Brauman could make her better. Lance and their current coach, Aston Moore, deserve a lot of credit too.
Silver medallist, Iapichino said: “It was crazy from the beginning, and the competition was very open. It was beautiful jumping with these girls and doing my best. And I got a silver medal, and I just cannot believe it, I am only twenty. Great start to their career. I do not know what is happening in my head right now, I am so emotional. In the long jump, it is very tough mentally. You need to be very strong and find your way of approaching and just jump. Not to think, but just jump. But in the meantime, many things are going through your head, so you need to be mentally strong. It is quite hard, but it is fun when you jump far. After Jazmin jumped 7m, I felt like a big adrenaline in that moment, and it was like: You jump 7, and I want to jump it too. And then I managed 6.97, so it was close. I just loved it here in this arena”.
A gracious bronze medallist, Ivana Vuleta, said: “I am pleased to be on the podium again because the competition was amazing. Of course, I wanted much further jumps from myself, but in the end, I am happy for Jazmin; I know that golden feeling. I am happy that I was able to compete in Istanbul, at least 6.91m is not a bad result. I was struggling with my take off today, which cost me a lot of distance. In the end, it’s not always about winning”.
There are days when it’s OK for the professional, dispassionate, independent sportswriter to become a fan and say that he could not be more delighted to see Jazmin Sawyers win gold and jump 7 meters. It could not happen to a nicer person. She always seems to have a smile and is always ready to give the media time. Well done, Jazmin!
The RunBlogRun statisticians are checking it while you read this. We do believe that Jazmin Sawyers is the only person to have won the European Indoor long jump, to have gained a bobsled medal, and to have sung at a Dimond League function in Oslo.
See my previous articles on Jazmin Sawyers:
Jazmin Sawyers’ Most Excellent weekend – runblogrun
Jazmin Sawyers talks long-jump… – runblogrun
Leave a Reply