|Olympic triple jump champion Nelson Evora of Portugal
is confident of making his mark in the upcoming
France’s Teddy Tamgho is the man of the moment in the triple jump after his heroics during the indoor season but Portugal’s 2008 Olympic Games champion Nelson Évora believes he’ll be back in the spotlight this summer.
Évora, who also won the 2007 world title, has struggled with a variety of injuries since the end of 2009. He only jumped once last year but competed three times indoors this winter in his main event before an untimely foot injury a week before the European Athletics Indoor Championships wrecked his plans to participate in Paris last month.
However, having won on the global stage in Osaka and Beijing, he is excited about the fact that this summer’s World Championships will be held in the Korean city of Daegu.
He admits that there is something about competing in eastern Asia that brings out the best in Évora, who turned 27 last Wednesday.
'The Eastern air makes me feel good. I love the heat there, the sun; and there, even without sun it is always hot. In such environments, my body responds much better than in the cold of many European meetings," reflected Évora in a recent interview with the Portuguese sports newspaper A Bola.
“This year everyone will have to compete with me. I'm preparing myself to do battle, I had an unsuccessful winter season, I was injured on my first jump at my only international meeting (at the XL-Galan meeting in Stockholm on 22 February) and could not show off the work that I had been doing.
“But outdoors, from June onwards, I think I will be a force to be reckoned with right the way up to the World Championships, where I hope to be as strong as possible,” he added.
Since the start of this month, Évora has been training at Vila Real de Santo António, on the Algarve close to the Spanish border, along with his regular training partner and 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships 60m winner Francis Obikwelu.
“I have been out of action but I don’t think I should be considered an outsider because I already have titles and experience in big competitions. There are going to be the clashes that everybody expects, between Phillips Idowu, Teddy Tamgho, Christian Olsson, the Cubans – there’s usually at least three of them who perform very well in these competitions - and also Marian Oprea, who has been in good form. I have to get among this lot but, if everything is going well, then anything can happen at the World Championships,” added Évora.
Évora has a personal best of 17.74m, setting the Portuguese national record when he won his 2007 world title and he currently lies in 12th place on the European all-time list.
His return to fitness offers the mouth-watering prospect of a competition at the 2011 SPAR European Team Championships, which will be held in Stockholm on 18-19 June, between himself, Tamgho and Great Britain’s 2009 World Championships and 2010 European Athletics Championships gold medallist Idowu.
It should be noted that none of the trio have confirmed they will be in the Swedish capital just yet, but all three have supported the event during its first two years.
Évora won on home soil in 2009, with Idowu second. Last year, the Briton was second again, with Tamgho finishing third, as the pair had to concede the top slot to the surprise Ukrainian winner Viktor Kuznyetsov.