Women's Long Jump and Triple Jump Previews
Of the nine long jump performances at seven metres or more this season, six have been by Tatyana Kotova of Russia, a pair of them occurring in the last half of July to indicate the Russian's high degree of fitness with Munich on the nearby horizon.
Spain puts forth a formidable pair in Concepción Montaner and Niurka Montalvo. The 21-year-old Montaner, with a 6.89 best this season, also has five other competitions at 6.71 or better, plus a wind-aided 6.88.
The Cuban-born Montalvo was the World Champion in 1999 and won the bronze medal in Edmonton. This year, her best is 6.83, but she also leaped 7.00 with a slightly illegal wind of 2.1. Her transfer of citizenship to Spain was effective in May 1999, making this her first European Championship appearance.
European indoor champion Niki Xánthou of Greece brings a 6.85 mark from mid-July to Munich, but it came in her only competition since late May, due to lingering injury problems.
Hungary's Tünde Vaszi, currently the long jump Grand Prix co-leader, has a 2002 best of 6.78 and also four other competitions at 6.67 and better. The Romanian-born jumper was fourth in Edmonton, and captured the same place when the European Championships were held in her home stadium in Budapest four years ago.
In her final competition before Munich, four-time European champion Heike Drechsler leaped 6.85, a level the German has not seen for two years. Perhaps the chance to become the first athlete to win five European titles in a single eventand complete the task in front of a home crowdwill give the 37-year-old a helpful dose of adrenalin. It won't be the first time it's happened. Never forget the aging Carl Lewis in Atlanta . . .
Coming off her second straight Commonwealth Games victory, Britain's Ashia Hansen may be able to keep the momentum for one more week in Munich. She seems to always save her best for significant occasions, as evidenced by her world-leading 14.86her best jump in the last three years-- to win in Manchester, and a splendid 14.62 to take second place at the European Cup.
The world-leading jumper for most of the summer, Yelena Oleynikova at 14.83, has secured only an alternate position on the Russian team list because of her third-place finish at the national championships.
Anna Pyatykh had earlier been granted an automatic ticket for Munich after her win at the European Cup with her season-best 14.67, leaving only two spots remaining to be chosen at the nationals. Just how the Russians plan to solve this personnel problem remains to be seen.
Evaluating the Munich competition is complicated by the fact that of the top ten entrants, only two of themRussians Oksana Rogova (14.59) and Irina Vasilyeva (14.40)achieved their yearly bests in July. Were it not for a hotly contested Russian championships, July would have been even more mediocre for Europeans. So, it's not obvious which jumpers are on course to peak in Munich and which have used July as a training period.
Sydney bronze medallist Olena Govorova of Ukraine has put together a solid season of eight performances at 14.30 or better, with a 14.54 top mark.
Magdelin Martinez will be experiencing her first European Championships after her emigration from Cuba to Italy. The 26-year-old, who placed fourth in Edmonton, achieved her 14.54 best this year at the European Cup, but she has since shown consistently good form in two mid-July performance.
Others poised to have a say in the final outcome are Carlota Castrejana of Spain (14.51), Sydney and Edmonton sixth-placer Cristina Nicolau of Romania (14.40), and Finland's Heli Koivula (14.36)