Marsha Mark-Baird’s Road to Rio campaign has begun.
The two-time Olympian recently celebrated her 41st birthday, and will be 42 when the 2016 Olympic Games is staged in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But Mark-Baird is not daunted by the challenge of attaining the qualifying standard in the gruelling seven-event heptathlon. In fact, she has already competed at four meets in 2015, following up on her comeback season last year.
Mark-Baird’s latest outing was last Friday, at the Mountain State Games in Idaho, USA. She produced a 5.87 metres leap for second spot in the women’s long jump. And in the shot put, the US-based Trinidad and Tobago athlete was 14th with an 11.55m throw.
Two weekends ago, in Colorado, Mark-Baird finished second in the Air Force Invitational women’s indoor pentathlon. She earned 3,679 points in the five-discipline event. Her best showing came in the 60m hurdles, Mark-Baird getting to the line in 8.85 seconds to earn 941 points. She cleared the bar at 1.58m in the high jump, threw 10.66m in the shot put, jumped 5.84m in the long jump, and returned a time of two minutes, 33.28 seconds in the 800m.
At the January 16-17 Ed Jacoby Invite, in Idaho, Mark-Baird secured sixth spot in the women’s 60m hurdles final, the veteran athlete getting to the line in 9.25 seconds. She had clocked 9.16 in the qualifying round. Mark-Baird was 18th in the 800m in 2:39.23, and 29th in the shot put with a 10.65m effort.
And in her season-opener, at the Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougar Collegiate Indoor Invitational, in Utah, Mark-Baird finished fifth in the women’s high jump with a 1.58m clearance.
At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, in Australia, Mark-Baird was 22nd in the women’s heptathlon with 5,627 points. Four years later, at the Athens Games, in Greece, she accumulated 5,962 points--which is still the national record--to finish 25th. If the evergreen heptathlete has her way, the T&T standard will be 6,000-plus by the time Rio 2016 is over.