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Thomas-Ricketts 'hurt' after Diamond eludes grasp; JAAA boss backs computer accuracy

Senior staff reporter

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Jamaican triple jumper Shanieka Thomas-Ricketts was left fuming after she lost the IAAF Diamond League trophy and prize money of US$50,000 (approximately $6.9m) by just one centimetre in the final event at the Zurich meet in Switzerland last Friday.

Ricketts, who has been having a tremendous season, leapt 14.55m and was just edged out by Colombian star Caterine Ibarguen who recorded 14.56m. Jamaica's Kimberley Williams took third with 14.47m.

But television replays later suggested Ricketts might have surpassed Ibarguen's leading mark.

“I went out to the final to give it my all. I have no ill feelings to the winner as she is an athlete I respect and look up to. However, tonight I was devastated and hurt by what may be a genuine mishap or technical misjudgment,” Ricketts told the Jamaica Observer.

Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president Dr Warren Blake praised Ricketts for her effort, while pointing out that the virtual lines shown on television are not official. He added that any protest would have had to be made during the meet.

“The fact is a lot of the measurements are electronic. In Jamaica it's all electronic too, but we still have somebody measuring in the pit. But what they have done in the Diamond League and bigger events, everything is done by computer. You jump and the computer programme gives you the result,” Dr Blake explained.

“I don't know if she would have anything to argue about. The most she could have done is protest at the time, raised that question and let them straighten it out then,” he added.

Dr Blake noted that the computer is likely to be correct because organisers put the programmes under rigorous testing to check for accuracy before implementation.

Despite the disappointment, Ricketts is proud of her performances this season.

“I will now reflect on the positives from this season and prepare for next season, where I intend to continue to make my country proud,” she said.

The Jamaican triple jumper collected US$20,000 (approximately $2.7m) for second place, but had she won the lanky jumper would have walked away with two and a half times that amount along with the spectacular Diamond Trophy created by Beyer, established in Zurich in the 18th century and one of the oldest and most respected jewellers in the world.

Ricketts started her season with 14.49m in Kingston in January which set the tone for a fantastic year in which she claimed silver at the Ccommonwealth Games with 14.52m in April.

She was second at the Shanghai Diamond League with 14.55m, and picked up her personal best of 14.61m as she struck gold at the Athletics World Cup in July and the NACAC Games in August.