Yulimar Rojas has become a famous name in athletics since setting the triple jump outdoor World Record (WR) of 15.67 metres at the Tokyo Olympics. In March 2022, she improved her WR with a leap of 15.74 metres at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
The two-time World Athletics Championships gold medallist will now aim for a hat-trick in Oregon. Though she is yet to break the 15m barrier in 2022, her 14.83m leap is still the best of the season.
But these massive feats would have never happened had Rojas found a volleyball coach in her teens. Volleyball was her first love, and she wanted to represent the Venezuelan women’s national team.
But Rojas’ potential attracted the interest of athletics coaches, who trained her to polish her skills as she was selected for the national high jump team.
However, Rojas’ father refused to give his consent for participation and on the coaches’ persuasion, he had to give in.
Attempting the triple jump for the first time in 2014, Rojas set a new national U-20 record of 13.57m on her debut and went on to win several titles in South America.
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, Rojas bagged the silver with a 14.98m leap, losing to a 15.17m jump of Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen. Rio was the last time she conceded a defeat at a senior international competition.
Since then, she has clinched two outdoor and three indoor World Championships gold medals apart from the maiden Olympic gold in Tokyo.
Now Rojas is favourite to create history by becoming the first triple jumper to notch a hat-trick of gold medals at the World Championships.