Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas, who has reigned supreme at global championships since 2017, insists bettering her own world record remains an objective as she hunts for a fourth consecutive world title in Budapest.
Not only did the 27-year-old win world golds in London in 2017, in Doha two years later and in Eugene last year, but she also became Olympic champion in the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021 with a then world record of 15.67m.
That mark was improved to 15.74m when the Venezuelan won her third world indoor title in Belgrade in 2022.
The last time Rojas was beaten in her speciality was more than two years ago and although she lost when making her senior global championships debut at the Rio Olympics in 2016, she still secured silver.
In an interview with AFP ahead of her competition in Hungary, which starts with qualifying on Wednesday, Rojas dismissed concerns of battle fatigue.
“Every day is a motivation for me, each world championship reconnects everything again,” she said.
“Just the possibility of being world champion again motivates me every day, I have that goal of defending my title and continue working to fulfil all my goals.”
In 2023 she has extended her total of 15-metre-plus jumps to 44. Those performances include a 15.16m win at the Central American and Caribbean Games and a 15.18m victory at the Diamond League meeting in Silesia.
Remarkably, that’s a barrier that just two other athletes on the entry list have surpassed in their career.
American Jasmine Moore jumped an area record of 15.12m at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque in March, while Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk leaped 15.02m to win the 2022 European title in Munich.
‘I am my main rival’
Rojas, however, was less concerned with her immediate competition than herself.
“I am very well, very happy and excited to be here, but above all I am very focused on doing very well,” she said.
“The level is high this year, the standard in the triple jump has grown... but I am very focused and I think my main rival is myself, my rival is Yulimar Rojas.
“My rival is my fears, my mistakes, it’s how I get up, what I feel on the track.
“I am myself and I always try to defeat myself, improve my marks day by day, improving my jumps. That’s the main thing.”
Rojas added: “I respect my opponents a lot and they always bring out the best in me. I know that in Wednesday’s qualifying and Friday’s final we are going to have a great competition and I am looking forward to that.”
Rojas shot out a warning that her record of 15.74m was in her crosshairs.
“Beating my record is always a goal,” she told AFP. “I don’t have a specific day to say I’m going to beat it, it doesn’t work that way.
“Every day I’m prepared for it, but it depends on the moment, the place, the day, the hour.
“There are many factors that greatly influence this, how the competition is going, how everything is developing and you cannot foresee that.
“But without a doubt, a new world record is my big goal, and I am happy every time day to go for it, until I can get it.”
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