T&FN’S 2020 Women’s MVP — Yulimar Rojas

A 50-7½ bound gave Yulimar Rojas the indoor World Record in the triple jump and missed the absolute best by just 2¾ inches. (JIRO MOCHIZUKI/IMAGE OF SPORT)

HER CAMPAIGN WAS SHORT, but triple jumper Yulimar Rojas made the most of it, winning twice each indoors and out and easily being selected as our Most Valuable Performer of the year on the women’s side.

In early February the 24-year-old Venezuelan (now 25) became member No. 8 of the indoor 15-meter club with her PR 49-3¾ (15.03). So when she came to the Spanish capital for the final World Indoor Tour meet of the year, World Record buzz was in the air. She didn’t disappoint, reaching 50-7½ (15.43) to eclipse the 50-4¾ (15.36) undercover standard set by Russia’s Tatyana Lebedeva in ’04.

“I’m over the moon; I can’t believe I’m the World Recordholder,” she said. “I want to get home and cry. I need to cry to release the adrenaline I have right now.”

The record came on her final try of the day. She had sandwiched a second-round 48-¾ (14.65) with a pair of fouls before scaring the WR with a 50-2 (15.29) bounce in round 4. “When I managed 15.29 so easily in the fourth round, I thought the record was definitely in my legs,” she said. The record jump was an absolute PR by 2cm and left her just shy of the absolute WR of 50-10¼ (15.50) set by Ukraine’s Inessa Kravets in ’95.

Outdoors, Rojas won with a modest distance at the Monaco DL, then finished off by recording the only outdoor 48-foot mark of the year.

Her MVP season, which included the year’s 7 farthest jumps:

Mark Meet Date Series
15.03 | 49-3¾i 1)Metz 2/09 (f, 49-¼, 48-11, f, f, 49-3¾) (f, 14.94, 14.91, f, f, 15.03)
15.43 | 50-7½i 1)Madrid World Indoor Tour 2/21 (f, 48-¾, f, 50-2, f, 50-7½) (f, 14.65, f,15.29, f, 15.43)
14.27 | 46-10 1)Monaco Diamond League 8/14 (f, 46-¾, f, 46-10, f, f) (f, 14.04, f,14.27, f, f)
14.71 | 48-3¼ 1)Castellón 9/05 (f, 47-5¾, 47-3¾, 44-8¼, f, 48-3¼) (f, 14.47, 14.42, 13.62, f, 14.71).

Honorable Mention

Overall, our 28-member international panel had no trouble in selecting Rojas as the MVP, although 5 different women were tabbed as No. 1. Behind Rojas, a trio of standouts got enough support to earn Honorable Mention status. Alphabetically:

Sifan Hassan
The Dutch distance star, 27, cruised to the No. 3 clocking ever in the 10,000, 29:36.67. She also raised the WR in the rarely run 1-Hour to 18,930m. Her 5000 best of 14:37.85 put her No. 6 on the yearly list…

Hellen Obiri
She wasn’t as fast as WR setter Letesenbet Gidey in the 5000, but the 30-year-old Kenyan was rated as our top performer in that event, having trounced the Ethiopian by almost 5 seconds in the Monaco DL. She also won the Doha DL 3000 in a list-leading 8:22.54…

Elaine Thompson-Herah
In a year dominated by distance running, the 28-year-old Jamaican provided the most speed. She went undefeated in the 100, breaking 10.9 on 3 occasions, topped by a 10.85 win in the Rome DL. At 22.19 she was also the year’s third-fastest half-lap performer…

Also getting some support from our selectors were WR setters Gidey & Yelena Lashmanova (50W), miler Laura Muir and long hurdler Femke Bol.

Tomorrow: who will be our 2020 Men’s MVP?