BERLIN – Brittney Reese, the former Ole Miss All-American, has the two best long jump marks in the world this year.
On Sunday, the Gulfport native has a chance to put everything together and win her first world title.
Reese easily advanced in Friday’s qualifying at the world championships in the historic 1936 Olympic Stadium.
Jumping second in her group, she threw down a jump of 6.78 meters (22 feet, 3 inches) on her first and only attempt in Friday’s qualifying. “I had 2 handle business early,” Reese wrote at Twitter.com.
It was the second-best jump in the field on Friday, behind Portugal’s Naide Gomes (6.86 meters; 22-6 1/4).
“The plan was to hit the first one, even though the landing wasn’t quite what I liked,” Reese told reporters.
She was being so careful not to foul, she took off about five inches behind the board. “To get 6.78 behind the board is remarkable,” she said. “I didn’t get as extended on the landing as I’d like. I’ve been working on my landing a lot.”
Reese is competing at the world for the second time. She was eighth at the 2007 worlds and then fifth at the 2008 Olympics after winning the U.S. trials. This year, she won her second national championship.
“I would like to go over seven meters and win a medal,” Reese said in an interview before the worlds with SpikesMag.com.
The 12-women field advances to the championships on Sunday. It includes two of the four women to beat Reese in Beijing – gold medalist Maurren Maggi of Brazil and bronze medalist Tatyana Lebedva of Russia. Both are 33 – 10 years older than Reese, who celebrates her birthday on Sept. 9.
Gomes, who finished fourth at the 2007 worlds, failed to reach the finals in Bejing.
Through Friday’s competition, the United States leads all nations with 16 medals (6 gold) with Russia second (11, 4 gold) and Jamaica third (10, 5 gold).
The USA’s Allyson Felix won her third consecutive 200-meter title during Friday’s competition, while the U.S. men’s 4×100 team, the defending world champion, was disqualified for an illegal baton change.
The world’s fastest man Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, celebrated his 23rd birthday. Having already won the 100 and 200 in record times, he’s expected to run in today’s 4×100 final.