In the Long Jump an athlete uses a runway to get speed and momentum before jumping off one foot and landing in a sand-filled landing area. The point of take-off is dictated by a take-off board, with a take-off line at the front. An athlete’s foot must not touch the ground beyond this line when taking off. To help the judges see if an athlete has overstepped the line, a strip of plasticine is placed just in front of the line. The distance of the jump is measured from the take-off line to the point where the athlete’s body first touches the sand.
If a jump is good – the athlete has not contravened any rules – a judge raises a white flag. If not, a red flag is raised, indicating a no jump.
For visually impaired athletes, a clearly marked one-metre take-off area replaces the take-off board. It is prepared so that the outline of the athlete’s foot can clearly be seen. In this case, measurement is from the take-off point to the landing point. A guide may assist the athlete by giving verbal instructions to ensure they run safely down the runway and hit the take-off correctly. Officials may request silence from the nearby spectators during each jump for this reason.
Both the Long Jump and Triple Jump events are run as straight finals. Each athlete takes three jumps and the best eight go on for a further three jumps. The athlete with the furthest jump wins the gold medal. In the event of a tie, athletes’ second-best jumps are compared, followed by their third, and so on.
Keys to success
To achieve the maximum possible height or distance in all three jumps, every aspect of the jump must be perfect including the run up. Athletes take great care in working out the exact position they start from, ensuring it suits their stride pattern and provides them with the best possible take off. All three jumping disciplines need perfect accuracy as well as great strength and speed.
Breaking the rules
In the High Jump the brush of a trailing leg or foot can dislodge the bar and ruin an otherwise perfect jump. In the Long Jump or Triple Jump a fraction of a centimetre over the take-off board results in a no jump.
For more information, please go to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) website.
Read more about classifications in Paralympic Athletics