Dominica’s Thea LaFond finished eighth in the women’s triple jump to complete the island’s bid at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
LaFond’s best jump was her first at 13.70m, but then she hit a slump jumping 11.44m and then registering a foul on the third. Her first jump was enough to propel her forward and continue in the competition. Sitting at number six in the pool, she jumped 13.60, 13.42 and 13.31 to take her down to the eighth position at the end of the competition.
“Well today was a bit of a disappointing day. I was happy to make finals. My farthest jump was my first jump, I was behind the board and that was good enough to get me through finals. I was definitely looking forward to going farther, securing a PB and qualifying for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. And basically we tweaked our run this week. I was just struggling to run off the board and get a very slow big hop and it just came back to bite me in the butt and I ended up just muscling instead of just using my speed and power from the run to get those big jumps,” LaFond revealed.
Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas went on to not only break the Pan Am Games record for the event but to register the first fifteen meter jump (15.11) in the history of the Games. That jump secured her the gold medal and LaFond said with competitors like that she needed to perform much better.
“It was a day that I had to bring it if I wanted to win it. You have Yulimar Rojas who went 15.11. A new Pan Am Games record. And that’s just so elite. You’re just watching history being made. My job was to come out there and compete to the best of my abilities and unfortunately I don’t think I really did that today. It’s disappointing but we are looking forward to Worlds in Doha this year. We’re gonna go home, we’re gonna clean up some things, we’re gonna work on that run, we’re gonna get consistent and come back better and stronger.
“As to the Dominican people, thank you so much for your love and support through this entire process. It’s always a privilege and an honour to represent you guys. I’m just so thankful. Little island, big heart, big things, big dreams. I really look forward to doing better and continuing to represent you guys to the best of my ability,” she added.
The silver medal went to Jamaica’s Shaneika Ricketts (14.77), while the bronze was won by Cuba’s Liadagmis Povea (14.60).