WRITTEN FOR THE IAAF WEBSITE
A now much-improved athlete compared to the performer who finished fourth in the 2016 edition of the championships, Keturah Orji is eager to gain her global indoor redemption with nothing less than victory in Birmingham.
The 21-year-old bounded to superb 14.53m American record and world leading mark in Clemson back in January and although she has not contested her specialist event since, the double NCAA indoor and outdoor champion has notched up a 6.46m long jump to keep the spring in her step.
Fourth in the 2016 Olympic Games with a 14.71m national record, Orji is relishing the prospect of not only claiming her first major international championship medal but capturing the world crown in the process.
Another who can boast a noticeable improvement is Viktoriya Prokopenko, who has progressed by a staggering 44cm this season to reach 14.44m in Moscow in early February.
The 26-year-old – due to compete as an authorised neutral athlete – has jumped beyond 14.20m on three occasions this winter so should be in contention to fight for the gold medal.
Iryna Vaskouskaya of Belarus has leapt a 14.30m personal best this campaign, whilst Paraskevi Papahristou of Greece – the world and European indoor bronze medalist – has jumped a season’s best of 14.25m.
Others expected to contest the medal placings include the 2017 European under-23 gold and silver medalists, Elena Andreea Panturoiu of Romania and Spain’s Ana Peleteiro – who have both registered 14.22m this season, which is a lifetime best mark for the latter.
Jamaica’s 2014 world indoor bronze medalist, Kimberly Williams comes into the competition with a 14.16m 2018 best, whilst world indoor and outdoor champion, Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela returns to defend her title, despite having not competed since last August.
The 22-year-old Olympic silver medalist only jumped on two occasions last winter but still propelled herself to a 14.79m personal best, ahead of achieving the top global honour last summer.