World Champs Men’s Triple Jump: Taylor Takes Title No. 4

It took a while, but Christian Taylor finally subdued old rival Will Claye. (MARK SHEARMAN)

IF THERE WAS any doubt before that Christian Taylor belongs in the pantheon of 3-phase gods then he assuaged those concerns with his third successive world title and fourth in total, adding in his ’11 crown to his more recent victories in Beijing, London and now Doha. For the first half of the competition it looked like Will Claye might get the upper-hand after taking silver behind his long-time friend and competitive rival in London two years ago, and also at the ’16 OG, but Taylor moved along his head-to-head TJ supremacy to 27–22 in a duel which stretches back to the first time they did battle more than a decade ago at the ’09 Tyson Indoor Invitational.

Jumping second in the order, yearly list leader Claye took the initiative immediately with a pair of huge efforts—57-9½ (17.61) then 58-1¾ (17.72)—while Taylor marked the plasticine twice and got red flags. In round 3, Claye continued to stamp his authority on the competition with 57-6½ (17.53), still better than anyone else had managed while Taylor played it safe to ensure three further jumps—if jumping beyond 57-feet can be considered safe—by moving back his runup and taking off 4¼ inches (11cm) behind the actual board but still bounding out to 57-2 (17.42).

However, the pendulum swung in Taylor’s direction in the fourth stanza. Blowing out his cheeks and with a scary look of steely determination on his face, he flew down the runway and went out to 58-7¼ (17.86) to take the lead, gesturing wildly as he darted from the pit.

Claye responded with 58-2½ (17.74) and the contest was certainly not over but there was a feeling in the air, at least to those paying close attention to the proceedings rather than the desultory scattering of spectators from the general public along the back straight where the horizontal jumps are being held, that the momentum was with the 2-time defending champion. In the fifth round Taylor nailed his winning jump with 58-9½ (17.92). The breakdown of the phases was 20-8½ (6.31), 17-0 (5.18), 21-1 (6.43); other jumpers had better individual phases here-and-there, but Taylor distributed his effort to near-perfection and had barely 2 inches to spare on the board.

The winner’s post-jump demeanor was markedly different to his previous effort, just clenching his fist and jaw as if to say to himself, “Job almost done.” Claye certainly wasn’t finished and had leaps of 58-2½ (17.74) again in the fifth round and 57-11¼ (17.66) in the sixth for a superb series but couldn’t close the gap, before Taylor finished with 57-6½ (17.54).

“Will put some big marks out there so I knew I had to respond. But this is how we train: be ready to respond, be ready to respond,” reflected Taylor. “My coach and I have prepared diligently for this position and how to stay calm and collected. I was chasing the World Record, maybe too hard, and my coach said he could see that in my face. He said I had to find that balance between full effort and having some calm about it. The distances [in the first 2 rounds] were there, just the wrong color flag and the wrong position of my foot. My coach said, ‘You’ve been here before. Breathe. Take a safe jump, make the final rounds, then compete again.’”

Behind the Taylor/Claye main feature, there was also a terrific supporting show for the bronze between Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango and Portugal’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo, with Zango getting his country’s first WC medal and the African Record with his last-round effort of 57-11¼ (17.66). Marks for places 3-4-5 were the farthest in history. Donald Scott, the third American in the final, took 6th with 56-4 (17.17) while Omar Craddock jumped 55-4¼ (16.87) in qualifying but missed out on progressing by 1cm.


WC MEN’S TRIPLE JUMP RESULTS

FINAL

(September 29; winds ranged from –0.2 to +1.3) (temperature 75–88F/24–31C; humidity 71%)

1. Christian Taylor (US) 58-9½ (17.92)

(f, f, 57-2, 58-7¼, 58-9½, 57-6½) (f, f, 17.42, 17.86, 17.92, 17.54);

2. Will Claye (US) 58-2½ (17.74)

(57-9½, 58-1¾, 57-6¼, 58-2½, 58-2½, 57-11¼) (17.61, 17.72, 17.53, 17.74, 17.74, 17.66);

3. Hugues Fabrice Zango (BF) 57-11¼ (17.66) NR

(56-4½, 57-3½, 56-8¾, f, 57-7½ NR, 57-11¼) (17.18, 17.46, 17.29, f, 17.56, 17.66);

4. Pedro Pablo Pichardo (Por) 57-9¾ (17.62)

(57-4¾, 56-8½, 57-4¾, 57-9¾, 57-9, 55-9¼) (17.49, 17.28, 17.49, 17.62, 17.60, 17.00);

5. Cristian Atanay Nápoles (Cub) 57-¼ (17.38) PR

(56-11½, 57-¼, f, f, p, p) (17.36, 17.38, f, f, p, p);

6. Donald Scott (US) 56-4 (17.17)

(f, 54-4½, 55-11¼, f, 49-5¾, 56-4) (f, 16.57, 17.05, f, 15.08, 17.17);

7. Alexis Copello (Aze) 56-1¼ (17.10)

(f, f, 56-1¼, f, f, p) (f, f, 17.10, f, f, p);

8. Jordan A. Díaz (Cub) 55-11¾ (17.06)

(52-1¼, 55-3¾, 55-9¾, 55-3¾, 55-11¾, 54-9¼) (15.88, 16.86, 17.01, 16.86, 17.06, 16.69);

9. Ruiting Wu (Chn) 55-8¼ (16.97)

(55-8¼, 55-3¾, 55-4¾) (16.97, 16.86, 16.88);

10. Yaoqing Fang (Chn) 54-7½ (16.65)

(52-3¾, 53-10½, 54-7½) (15.94, 16.42, 16.65);

11. Necati Er (Tur) 53-7½ (16.34)

(53-7½, f, 51-3) (16.34, f, 15.62);

12. Almir dos Santos (Bra) 49-3 (15.01)

(f, f, 49-3) (f, f, 15.01).

(best-ever mark-for-place: 3–5)

first 3 rounds
* = progression of the leading jump
¶ = athlete’s best of the day
Er 16.34*¶ f 15.62
Claye 17.61* 17.72 17.53
Fang 15.94 16.42 16.65¶
Nápoles 17.36 17.38¶ f
Pichardo 17.49 17.28 17.49
Copello f f 17.10¶
Zango 17.18 17.46 17.29
dos Santos f f 15.01¶
Wu 16.97¶ 16.86 16.88
Taylor f f 17.42
Díaz 15.88 16.86 17.01
Scott f 16.57 17.05
rounds 4 & 5
Díaz 16.86 17.06¶
Scott f 15.08
Copello f f
Nápoles f p
Taylor 17.86* 17.92¶
Zango f 17.56
Pichardo 17.62¶ 17.60
Claye 17.74¶ 17.74
last round
Scott 17.17¶
Díaz 16.69
Copello p
Nápoles p
Zango 17.66¶
Pichardo 17.00
Claye 17.66
Taylor 17.54

QUALIFYING

(September 27; auto-qualifier 56-1¼/17.10)

Qualifiers: Pichardo 57-¼ (17.38), Zango 56-4 (17.17), Taylor 55-9 (16.99), Scott 55-9 (16.99), Claye 55-8¼ (16.97), Copello 55-7½ (16.95), Díaz 55-6½ (16.93), dos Santos 55-6¼ (16.92), Fang 55-6¼ (16.92), Wu 55-5½ (16.90), Nápoles 55-4¾ (16.88), Er 55-4¼ (16.87).

Non-qualifiers: Omar Craddock (US) 55-4¼ (16.87), Dmitriy Sorokin (Rus) 55-3¾ (16.86), Nelson Évora (Por) 55-1½ (16.80), Yaming Zhu (Chn) 55-1 (16.79), Ben Williams (GB) 55-¼ (16.77), Aleksey Fyodorov (Rus) 54-10 (16.71), Nazim Babayev (Aze) 54-7½ (16.65), Yasser Triki (Alg) 54-6½ (16.62), Georgi Tsonov (Bul) 54-6 (16.61), Benjamin Compaoré (Fra) 54-5¼ (16.59), Simo Lipsanen (Fin) 54-½ (16.47), Andy Díaz (Cub) 53-10¼ (16.41), Chengetayi David Mapaya (Zim) 53-8¼ (16.36), Jean-Marc Pontvianne (Fra) 53-6¼ (16.31), Aleksandro Melo (Bra) 53-4¼ (16.26), Latario Collie-Minns (Bah) 53-4¼ (16.26), Levon Aghasyan (Arm) 53-3½ (16.24), Lathone Collie-Minns (Bah) 52-1¾ (15.89), Ruslan Kurbanov (Uzb) 52-½ (15.86), Andrea Dallavalle (Ita) 49-6¼ (15.09), Jordan Scott (Jam) 48-4 (14.73). ◻︎

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