Athletics News

Jazmin Sawyers soars to long jump gold with British record in Istanbul

Jazmin Sawyers soars to long jump gold with British record in Istanbul

The 28-year-old gambled on changing her technique this winter and it paid off at the European Indoor Champs with an emotional victory with 7.00m

You will struggle to find a more popular gold medallist in Istanbul this weekend than Jazmin Saywers. The 28-year-old long jumper captured the first major senior title of her career at the European Indoor Championships. She did it in style, too, with a British indoor record of 7.00m.

Competing on the final night of the four-day event, the Stoke athlete beat Larissa Iapichino of Italy by three centimetres with Ivana Vuleta of Serbia third with 6.91m and Mailaka Mihambo of Germany fourth with 6.83m.

This was not a soft competition either. Mihambo is the reigning Olympic and world champion; Vuleta is a two-time world indoor and three-time European indoor gold medallist; while Iapichino is the daughter of former English Schools and two-time world champion Fiona May and the 20-year-old jumped an Italian record for silver.

Plus, as Sawyers said in emotional post-event interviews, seven metres is serious long jumping. Indeed, the only Brits who have ever jumped further outdoors are Shara Proctor with 7.07m and Lorraine Ugen with 7.05m.

“Seven metres it the goal for most female long jumpers,” she said. “I’ve been looking for a seven-metre jump for what seems like forever.

“It almost doesn’t quite feel real. I’ve been expecting it for years but just didn’t expect it to happen tonight. It feels like all the belief that I had in myself was justified. I have proved my younger self right. I’m so proud of myself right now.”

Jazmin Sawyers (Getty)

So how did she do it? For starters this was a magnificent medal moment waiting to happen. Apart from a brief foray into bobsleigh – plus a singing appearance on The Voice six years ago – Sawyers has been charging down the runway and landing into sand for many years and has turned into one of Britain’s most reliable and consistent elite performers lately.

Last summer she won bronze at the European Championships in Munich. She has also finished eighth at the last two Olympics.

The Aston Moore-coached athlete has also taken apart her technique this winter and tweaked it significantly. “I completely changed it this year. I was having an issue with over-rotation and I’ve been having it for years. And we tried to fix it by having me sort of stop in the air as I take off.

“But that’s so hard and then to pause so instead we added an extra hitch so I’m…

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