Women’s Amateur Athletic Association Triple Jump Cup

By Dr Jane Ainsworth

The Story of the Event

Triple Jump, along with javelin and discus, was not contested at the Amateur Athletics Association (AAA) men’s championships until 1914, despite the fact that it had appeared in the programme of every modern Olympics. Records would even suggest some British success in the event, with a victory for Tim Ahearne in the 1908 London Games, although in fact Ahearne’s victory would be better credited to Ireland. When triple jump did appear on the AAA programme, along with discus and javelin, it was on probation, since the Championship Committee noted that it would only continue as long as it was on the Olympic programme. The event was rather endearingly named the hop, skip, and jump until the 1960s.

Photo credit: David Rowan

In 1923, its first full year, the Women’s Amateur Athletic Association Committee met to establish the programme for their first championships. Public opinion on the suitability of any athletics event for women was still mixed and the WAAA considered it very important that they protect the athletes in their care by testing the effects of different disciplines. Under the supervision of Sam Mussabini, the coach of, amongst others, Harold Abrahams made famous by the film Chariots of Fire, the effects of pole vault and triple jump on Sophie Eliott-Lynn were tested. Eliott-Lynn would become WAAA champion in javelin and high jump, an event in which she would also hold the world record; she had an academic background in postgraduate biological research. In 1925 she presented a paper to the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission on the suitability of athletics for women; it is evidence of contemporary attitudes that she had to assure the IOC that athletics would not harm a woman’s ‘sacred duty’ of childbirth. In the view of the WAAA Committee in 1923, both pole vault and triple jump were deemed ‘entirely unfit for women and should not be allowed’.

By 1989, attitudes had relented, and women’s triple jump beat the pole vault to inclusion on the WAAA programme by four years. It appeared for the first time in the world championships in 1993 in Stuttgart and at the Olympics of 1996 in Atlanta. Evette Finikin secured the first three WAAA titles, a feat matched by Commonwealth bronze medallist Nadia Williams 2010-2012.  Williams had also won the two previous British titles. The dominant force in British triple jumping at the turn of the millennium was Ashia Hansen, who won Commonwealth gold twice, European gold both indoors and outdoors with an indoor world record of 15.16m, and was twice World Indoor champion. The 2014 champion, Yamile Aldama, after an eventful journey to British representation, followed Hansen’s example with World Indoor gold in 2012, finishing 5th in the Olympic Games of that year at the age of 40.

History of the Trophy

AAA champions in the triple jump received this trophy for the event first contested in 1989. The WAAA and AAA amalgamated into one single AAA for men and women in 1991.  Since 2010 the trophy has been presented to the winner of the English Senior Women’s Championships Triple Jump.

Previous Winners*

1989 E. Finikin1992 R. Kirby1994 M. Griffith
1990 E. Finikin1993 L. Espegren1995 M. Griffith 
1991 E. Finikin  
   
2010 N. Williams2013 L. Samuel2016 S. Gutzmore
2011 N. Williams2014 Y. Aldama2017 A. Barrett
2012 N. Williams2015 A. Russell2018 N. Ogbeta
  2019 N. Ogbeta