Reigning Olympic long jump champion Maurren Maggi says she is over her injury troubles and ready to jump 7m at the London Games.
The Brazilian returned to action on Sunday after more than six months on the sidelines with a gold medal jump of 6.62m at the international grand prix event in the northern Brazilian city of Belem.
In an all-Brazil medal podium, Keila Costa won silver with a leap of 6.59m while Jessica Reis took bronze with 6.42m. “I was really moved by the reception from the public when I entered the track,” Maggi said after the event. “It’s always great to compete here and it was difficult to contain my emotion. But I managed to breathe deeply and concentrate on the competition,” she said.
Maggi became the first Brazilian athlete in history to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event at the Beijing 2008 Games. Her triumph was followed by a series of setbacks, including arthroscopic surgery on her right knee which forced her out of action for nine months in 2009 and 2010.
Upon returning, Maggi won the international meeting in Avila, Spain, with a jump of 6.36, well below her 7.04 in Beijing but a signal that she was on the road to recovery.
That recovery was again interrupted by a thigh injury which forced her out of competition in the second half of 2010. She emerged from another prolonged absence in May 2011 and slowly regained her form before claiming her third Pan American
Games gold medal in Mexico last October.
The 35-year-old says she is not overly concerned by distance at this stage of her preparation. “The most important thing is that I have started the year with a victory,” she said. “In London my goal is to jump 7m. With that distance I think an Olympic gold medal is guaranteed.”
Maggi will now set her sights on the Grand Prix event in Sao Paulo on May 16 followed by the Brazil Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro four days later. She has already qualified for the London Games in July.