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World triple jump champion Taylor can’t wait to compete in Nairobi

By Lynette Matheka
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020
Olympics and world triple jump champion American Christian Taylor competes at the 2016 Rio Games. Photo/FILE

Reigning Olympics and World triple jump champion Christian Taylor will be in Nairobi to compete in the inaugural World Athletics Continental Tour when a new date is set.

New in the World Athletics calendar, the Continental Tour was scheduled to make its debut in Kenya on May 2 before the Covid 19 pandemic forced the event to be postponed.

“I was to start my season in Kenya and I was very excited to see what the Tour had in store being a new system.

This would be my first time in Kenya and I had visions, aspirations and goals that I had set to achieve there. 

To have the opportunity to compete there will be very special so hopefully come August,  when the event is tentatively set to take place, I will be in the country for the Tour, “ the American said from his US base via a Skype interview with K24 sports anchor Caren Kibbett.

With all sporting events at a standstill and the United States recording the highest Covid-19 infections and deaths in the world so far,  the 29-year old has not been able to jump for close to two months. 

He is, however, hopeful that with the Olympics moved to next year,  he will have enough time to prepare as he sets his eyes on breaking the world record that stands at 18:29m. 

“I was prepared to defend my Olympics gold in Tokyo as well as break the world record.  Now I have another year  to prepare and I have everything pushed towards that goal. 

I am healthy and motivated. By then, I will be 30 which I think is a perfect age and with experience, I hope the stars will line up for me to achieve that,” he added. 

Stiff competition

He went on: “I am preparing for the Olympics next year but I would also love to be in Paris 2024. I love being a part of these historical events and I have been lucky to see some spectacular moments throughout my career.

My biggest take from the 2012 Olympics, for instance, was watching David Rudisha set a new world record in the final.

Watching that 800m race was special. I am taking it one event at a time but hopefully I can make it to Paris too.”

Even as he eyes the world record, Taylor admits he is likely to face stiff competition from, among others, Africa record holder and World bronze medalist Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango. He,  however,  welcomes the pressure, saying it will push him to do better.  

“He (Zango)  is a phenomenal person.  I know the pressure will be there but it is very important to have people to push you. I hope to be the victor but it sure will be a good fight,”  Taylor said.  

With a packed calendar ahead, probably stretching all the way to the Paris 2024 Olympics, the triple jumper says he will use every opportunity to stay fit and at the same time be smart about the competitions he will be a part of.

After the 2021 Olympics there will be back-to-back World Championships in 2022 and 2023 after World Athletics moved next year’s event to accommodate the Tokyo Games, making it a packed calendar for athletes. 

Diamond League series

“I love track and field and I will take every opportunity to compete in the triple jump where I can.

With the discipline removed in the Diamond League series, if the 400m is the only option I have to remain active in the series I will do what I can to survive.

Additionally, I will engage older athletes who are more experienced  on how I can handle the packed calendar ahead. 

I will be getting older and competing will not be the same but I am willing to do the hard work,” added Taylor.

The four-time world champion won his first USA outdoor national title in 2011. He followed it up with a win in the triple jump at the 2011 World Championships.

He won gold at the 2012 Olympics in London after placing fourth at the 2013 World Championships but regained his title at the 2015 event.

Victory in triple jump

He would defend his Olympics title in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro with a jump of 17.86m. In 2017, Taylor once again stormed to victory in the triple jump at the World Championships in London with a jump of 17.68m. 

Coming to the 2019 World Championship in Doha as the defending champion, Taylor took his fourth crown after producing a 17.92m jump.

He also competes in the long jump with a best of 8.19m and in the sprints to a high level. His best for the 400m dash is 45.07 seconds and he has run 20.70 seconds in 200m.

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