Caracas, July 20, 2022 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan athlete Yulimar Rojas was unstoppable once again as she became the first woman to win three successive triple jump gold medals at the World Championships (WCH).
On Monday, the 26-year-old took the gold medal in the women's triple jump final at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Rojas opened the contest with a modest 14.60m mark and immediately sealed the victory in her second attempt with an impressive 15.47m jump, the sixth-best mark in her career.
Jamaica's Shanieka Ricketts grabbed silver with a distant 14.89m jump while the US' Tori Franklin claimed the bronze medal with 14.72m. The eighteenth edition of the WCH is taking place in the US between July 15-24 gathering 1,972 athletes from 192 nations.
Crowd favorite Rojas is no stranger to success and has reigned supreme over the triple jump field. The Venezuelan young athlete made history last year at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a 15.67m jump, smashing both the outdoor world and Olympic records. She was also the Caribbean country's first female Olympic gold medallist having previously won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
With the 2022 Eugene victory, Rojas has become a three-time consecutive gold medallist at World Championships following her triumphs in 2017 London (14.91m) and 2019 Doha (15,37m).
The 1,92 meter-tall athlete likewise owns the title of three-time World Indoor Champion after taking first place in 2016 Portland (14.41m), 2018 Birmingham (14.63m) and 2022 Belgrade (15.74m and new world record).
Although Rojas is already the undisputed champion in the women's triple jump field with six world titles, she aspires to transform the sport forever by breaching the mythical 16m mark. "It is my most important goal for now and I know that I am close. I hope to jump better in the next competition and to be able to reach that prodigious and important barrier," explained the gold medallist.
"It still hasn't sunk in. I wanted a longer jump, but I am happy to return to this beautiful stadium, to see the crowd," Rojas told the press after her performance in the Hayward Field stadium of the University of Oregon.
Rojas added that the Eugene 2022 World Championship title feels like a "reward for perseverance" after recovering from a recent leg injury and having a shorter preparation period prior to the competition.
Following her victory, the record-breaker received heaps of congratulations through social media from the Venezuelan people and officials as well as worldwide sports communities. Venezuela's Sports Minister Mervin Maldonado wrote on Twitter that Rojas was a "giant" and "the best in the world."
For his part, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro celebrated Rojas' triumph highlighting her feat of becoming the first woman in the world to achieve three straight world titles. "You are extraordinary and our undisputed champion," he tweeted.
Yulimar Rojas was born in Caracas and raised in the working-class town of Barcelona, Anzoategui state, northeastern Venezuela. Since becoming a high-level triple jumper, the openly lesbian athlete has been a fierce advocate of Venezuela's LGBTIQ+ community rights, especially the long-standing struggle to legalize same-sex marriage.
"[My jump] is also a leap so that love and life are respected, the desire to love and be loved is respected, and human rights are valued every day," Rojas told Spain's El Pais last year.
Venezuela's sports funding received a significant boost after Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999 with Rojas belonging to what is today referred to as the country's "golden generation." She is currently the recipient of the Venezuelan Order of Jose Felix Ribas - First Class.
Edited by Ricardo Vaz in Caracas.
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Andreina Chavez Alava | source: venezuelanalysis