Thomas targets 15 metres

December 21, 2015
File Shanieka Thomas

One look at Jamaican Olympic triple jump hopeful Shanieka Thomas and her potential is obvious. At 6" and 145 lb, she is built almost exactly like world record holder Inessa Kravets.

Thomas, 11th in the 2015 World Championships, knows the similarity and hopes one day to match the Ukrainian's fine achievements.

Kravets set the record 15.50 metres at the 1995 Worlds and took gold as well at the 1996 Olympics.

"A lot of people don't remember that the world record holder has really slim build," she said.

Thomas, a three-time US collegiate champion at San Diego State University, left California to train at Mona last season.

"It's hard to have a lot of people doing well in the field events if nobody actually comes home to show the talent the coaches have here," she said. "So it's a big jump and it was risky at first but I like the transition because it's been going well."

With astute advice from her coach Kerry-Lee Ricketts, the former Vere Technical High School student qualified for the Worlds at the last opportunity with a winning 14.23 metre jump at the NACAC Championships in Costa Rica. Now their goal is to make her faster and stronger.

"This year we're focusing on getting more speed down the runway as well as strengthening, making sure I'm more powerful," she said.

During her San Diego years, the 2008 Carifta Games Under 17 champion ran relays on a regular basis. Now she dreams of running the 4x400 in black-green-and-gold.

"Every season I contemplate doing the 400 m but when I start thing about the training for the 400 I'm like no, I'm going to stick with the triple jump."

She is encouraged by the relay running of World and Olympic triple jump men's champion Christian Taylor at the 2014 World Relays.

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