[TranslLasitskene, Ibarguen, Lavillenie, Kendricks : Stars of the jumps descend on Rabat
45 and counting. How long will Mariya Lasitskene’s winning streak hold? On Friday, July 13th, the high jump double world champion looks to extend her incredible unbeaten run when she heads to Rabat for the latest leg on the Road To The Final. With five of the top seven performances in the world this year, Lasitskene is in fine form, and showed it with a world leading 2.04m at Meeting de Paris earlier this month. She will be looking to go one further in Rabat, Stefka Kostadinova’s world record of 2.09m no doubt still firmly in her crosshairs. The undisputed favourite for the Diamond Trophy, Lasitskene nonetheless faces tough competition in Morocco, with the likes of the Bulgarian Mirela Demireva, and the young Ukrainian Yuliya Levchenko (20) also lining up in the women’s high jump.
Caterine Ibarguen is another queen of the jumps who is on fine form this year. Olympic Champion and multiple Diamond Trophy winner in the women’s triple jump, Ibargüen has already booked her place in the Final and equalled her season’s best of 14.83m in Paris, but the 15 metre mark remains firmly in her sights. She too will come up against a tough field in Rabat, with Jamaica’s Commonwealth Champions Kimberly Williams, and the young American Tori Franklin, who can boast of a 2018 world lead with 14.84m.
Rabat also promises thrills in the men’s pole vault, where Renaud Lavillenie and Sam Kendricks will continue their enthralling rivalry. The American grabbed victory in Lavillenie’s back yard at Meeting de Paris with a world leading jump of 5.96m. Not to be cowed, the great Lavillenie responded in Lausanne, picking up eight points with 5.91m, meaning both men arrive in Rabat on fine form, perhaps even in the hope of moving nearer to the six-metre-mark. They will be kept on their toes by the likes of Poland’s Pawel Wojciechowski, and Canada’s Shawn Barber.