June 24, 2009
Former Rice University athlete Funmi Jimoh, now an elite long jumper on the world's stage, competes this weekend at the USA Track & Field National Championships in Eugene, Ore., at Hayward Field. The women's long jump event will be held on Sunday, June 28, starting at 2:30 p.m. (CT).
If Jimoh were to place among the top three she will then represent Team USA at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany (Aug. 15-23). The IAAF World Championships take place in Berlin's Olympic Stadium, which will host its first major international track and field event since the 1936 Olympic Games.
She comes into the competition with the USA's second-best mark for 2009 at 6.96m/22-10. Britney Reese leads USA and the world at 7.06m/23-2.
The University of Oregon's Hayward Field is the site of many historic and fantastic track and field memories and Funmi Jimoh has hers as well. It was here at last summer's US Olympic Trials where Jimoh qualified (6.72m/22-0.75) for Team USA and competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, placing 12th in the world.
Hayward Field has been the site of the 1972, 1976, 1980, and the 2008 US Olympic Trials. It has also hosted nine NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships since 1962.
Most recently at Hayward Field, Jimoh won the 2009 Prefontaine Classic long jump with a mark of 6.69m/21-11.50 on June 7. Prior to the Prefontaine Classic, Jimoh won the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games long jump in Hengelo, Netherlands, with a mark of 6.74m/22-1.5.
The Rice 2007 graduate jumped her all-time best of 6.96m/22-10 in placing second at the 2009 Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix in Doha, Qatar, on May 8. That mark is the third-best in the world, behind Brittney Reese's aforementioned 7.06m/23-2 and 6.99m/22-11.25.
Based in Houston, she is coached Rice's head women's track and field coach Jim Bevan and continues to trains at the Rice Track Stadium.
The USA Track & Field National Championships can be seen on ESPN, Fri., June 26, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. ET; ESPN, Sat., June 27, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. ET; and on NBC, Sun., June 28, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. ET.