Kansas Relays Announces World-Class Field for Downtown Events

April 10, 2013

Downtown Event Fan Info


Janay DeLoach will return to try and claim
her second-consecutive Downtown
Long Jump title.

Shot Put Lineup
Christen Cantwell USA
Reese Hoffa USA
Joe Kovacs USA
Cory Martin USA
Nedzad Mulabegovic Croatia
Kurt Roberts USA
Justin Rhode Canada
Ryan Whiting USA
Long Jump Lineup
Tori Bowie USA
Janay DeLoach USA
Jessia Gaines USA
Jovanee Jarrett Jamaica
Funmi Jimoh USA
Arantxa King Bermuda
Tori Polk USA
Bettie Wade USA

LAWRENCE, Kan. – A pair of 2012 Olympic bronze medalists, three World Champions, four U.S. Champions and seven past Olympians are slated to take to the streets of downtown Lawrence for the third annual Downtown Shot Put and Long Jump Events Kansas Relays officials announced Wednesday. Highlighting the fields will be both the defending champions in 2012 shot put champion Reese Hoffa and last year’s long jump champion, Janay DeLoach.

The primetime events are scheduled to take place near the intersection of Eighth and Massachusetts Streets in downtown Lawrence. The shot put is slated for 6 p.m. (CT), Wednesday, April 17, while the long jump will be held Thursday, April 18, also at 6 p.m.

Eight men are currently scheduled to compete in the downtown shot put event, which is now in its third year. Hoffa, a native of Evans, Ga., is a three-time U.S. Champion in the shot put and has gained nation-wide fame through his quirky personality and touching family story, as well as becoming one of the dominant figures of the sport. He was the winner of the downtown event a year ago and went on to claim the bronze medal at the event at the London Olympic Games.

Christen Cantwell will be looking to collect his fifth Kansas Relays shot put title as he makes another trip to Lawrence. The Missouri graduate is a seven-time USA Champion and claimed a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has also been on top of the world stage, taking gold at the 2009 World Championships and has been one of the world’s top-five throwers for an amazing nine years. Cantwell was the runner-up to Hoffa at the downtown event a year ago, missing the victory by less than an inch.

Rounding out the shot put field will be Olympian Ryan Whiting, a two-time U.S. Indoor Champion and the gold medalist at the 2012 World Indoor Championships; Kurt Roberts, who boasted the third-best throw in the world this past indoor season behind Hoffa and Martin; Joe Kovacs, the fourth-place finisher at last year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials; Cory Martin, a two-time NCAA Champion and the No. 2 indoor shot putter in the world in 2013. A pair of internationals will also be on hand, both of which were Olympians a year ago. Canada’s Justin Rhode and Croatia’s Nedzad Mulabegovic will chalk up for their second appearances in Lawrence.

A stellar field is also in store for the women’s long jump. DeLoach, who exits the 2013 indoor season as the world’s No. 3-ranked jumper, is coming off a U.S. Championship and an Olympic bronze medal in 2012. She held the world’s sixth-best long jump mark in 2011 with her personal best of 7.03 meters (23’0.75″). A multi-sport athlete through high school and college, DeLoach still participates in the 100-meter hurdles on a somewhat-regular basis and boasts a personal-best time of 13.33.

A last-minute scratch from last year’s long jump, Olympian Funmi Jimoh will make it tough for DeLoach to pull off the repeat. Jimoh has been a mainstay in the top-five of the American lists over the past five years. The Stafford, Texas native has claimed five bronze medals at the indoor and outdoor national levels and has seen her top marks rank among the top-10 internationally on four occasions, including the 2012 indoor season. Her third-place finish at the Olympic Trials in 2008 paved her way to her first Olympic team, where she went on to finish 12th in the event at the Beijing Games.

Joining DeLoach and Jimoh in downtown Lawrence will be Tori Polk, the fourth-place finisher at the USA Championships in 2011; Bettie Wade, who ranked No. 4 in the U.S. in the heptathlon in 2012; Jessie Gaines, who took fourth in the 2013 USA Indoor Championships in March and Tori Bowie, a two-time national champion for Southern Mississippi. Jamaican Jovanee Jarrett and Bermuda Olympian Arantxa King will round out the field. Jarrett was a three-time participant in the World Indoor and Outdoor Championships while King was a two-time All-American at Stanford and has competed at the last two Olympic Games.

The downtown events will kick off the 86th Kansas Relays, which will take place April 17-20 at Memorial Stadium. Log on to KansasRelays.com for addition information and follow on Facebook (facebook.com/KansasRelays) and Twitter (KU_Relays) for complete coverage of the four-day event.

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