Triple jumper Rojas provides 'wow' moment

Yulimar Rojas poses with her new triple jump world record of 15.67 metres set in Tokyo.
Yulimar Rojas poses with her new triple jump world record of 15.67 metres set in Tokyo.

Yulimar Rojas didn't even need to look for validation.

The runway, the take off, the way she hit the sand - it all felt so good she somehow knew she'd sealed her Olympic gold medal in the women's triple jump with a world record.

And in an almost empty stadium, she heard people go: "Wow!"

Rojas broke the Olympic record in the first round of Sunday's final at the Tokyo Games, signalling her intent, and went through four more rounds before putting it all together perfectly with a milestone 15.67 metres on her last attempt, breaking the record Ukrainian Inessa Kravets set in 1995.

"I knew. I already knew. I knew from the run. I knew I couldn't miss that one. I knew it was right there," she said of her last jump. "I didn't even have to look. My head, my heart, my body," said the Venezuelan.

"I was also listening: people went 'wow.' I could hear my friend screaming," she said. "My coach was screaming, was yelling."

Rojas already had the gold medal assured - with that Games record of 15.39 - when she took the last of her six attempts, giving her a feeling of freedom.

Patricia Mamona, of Portugal, took silver with a national record of 15.01m, and Ana Peleteiro set a Spanish record of 14.87 to win the bronze.

Rojas, a silver medalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and back-to-back world champion in 2017 and 2019, has become the first Olympic female track and field champion from Venezuela.

"When I woke up this morning, I already knew today was going to be a good day," Rojas said.

"I had a very positive vibe - I knew today things could be great, today I was going to write history.

"The last try was a magical moment."

Australian Associated Press