'Pumped' Shanieka ready for Tokyo Games, says husbandTuesday, July 27, 2021
BY IAN BURNETT
TOKYO, Japan — “She's pumped, she's ready, and we will see what happens on the day.”
That's the verdict of Kerry-Lee Ricketts, coach and husband of triple jump medal contender Shanieka Ricketts, mere days ahead of competition at the Olympic Stadium during the athletics segment of the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games here.
“She is in the right frame of mind at the moment; she is focused, she is not taking anything for granted. For everything that has happened this season, she has been consistent in the Diamond League. She has won two Diamond League [events] and [was] in the top three in another. She also has a massive personal best, which is 14.98m in Doha this early season. But, a lot is gone and she's not taking anything for granted. She has been ranked number two for the past three years, and that in itself is an accomplishment,” argued Kerry-Lee, who is currently based at a hotel outside the athletes' village.
The coach told the Jamaica Observer that the ace triple jumper has settled in well since arriving in Japan, and in terms of preparation, they are right on schedule.
“We are where we want to be in terms of strength, speed, power and everything in terms of general preparations. Our sprint times are much faster when compared to previous championships, namely Doha 2019 World Championships.
“So, she's ahead where power, strength and speed are concerned, and also technical aspects of jumps as well.”
Throughout the interview Kerry-Lee stressed that it is the philosophy of his athlete to take nothing for granted, despite the fact that she is in great shape and has been consistent all season.
“She was second in Doha and has been consistent this year, but no medal is here waiting for anybody. You have to go out there and actually compete at your best and be consistent on the day in order to be on the podium.
“So, we are not taking anything for granted. We are going there to basically put our best out there and, hopefully, that should be enough to put us on the podium.”
And without being cocky he said Shanieka, like every other athlete here, wants to win a medal, because that would be the ultimate achievement.
The women's triple jump qualification events begin on Friday, July 30 inside the Olympic Stadium at 7:05 pm (5:05 am Jamaica time), in two groups.
The final is slated for Sunday, August 1 at 8:20 pm (6:20 am Jamaica time).
But just how badly does she want a medal?
“Basically, everybody is here to win a medal. Everybody in their own right believes they can win a gold medal and so, like everybody else, we are putting in the work and we are going with the same mindset. To be an Olympian is every athlete's dream and to be an Olympic medallist is also a bigger dream, a desire, and that's the impetus behind most athletes. And so, it actually would be the first Jamaican woman to in an Olympic medal in a jumping event, so that would be a great feat and great achievement.
“It would also inspire other young Jamaican jumpers to stick to the event and to see the event as something that they can achieve greatness in. It is something that we are looking forward to and on the day, we just hope that we can go out there and deliver,” Kerry-Lee said.
And having forced to go a few days without the use of the training facility, which opens five days before competition starts, Ricketts says they made the best use of the athletes' village and so were not adversely affected.
“So we didn't have access to the training facility but we found ways to get in some training sessions,” he said. “They have a grass field in the village and they have a gym in the village so we kind of utilised those and just did a few activation stuff just to keep her going until a training track was available, so that didn't actually affect us in any way,” he shared.
Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas is seen by many as the favourite for gold, but Ricketts has taken down her number before and stands a good chance of doing so again, possibly give Jamaicans something to celebrate on Emancipation Day.
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