Yulimar Rojas celebrates after winning in the Women's Triple Jump Final of the World Athletics Championships Budapest. GETTY IMAGES

After the first steps of her rehabilitation due to an injury that will prevent her from defending her Olympic gold in the triple jump in Paris 2024, the Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas prepares "the return of the queen" with an eye on the 2025 World Athletics Championships, Agence France-Presse reported Thursday. 

"I don't think about when I'm going to recover, but about how. I want to be completely healthy, I want to return to the track and not relapse," Rojas tells journalists in Caracas on videoconference from Barcelona, Spain, where she is undergoing treatment.

"I want to recover step by step, slowly but surely, and think about next year," she added. "It will be a very important year for me, a year of improvement that will have a different feel, that of the coming of Yulimar Rojas, the return of the queen, and I am looking forward to it."

Rojas, 28, announced last month that she would be withdrawing from the Paris Olympics due to a left Achilles tendon injury suffered during training in Barcelona. She had won the triple jump gold medal in Tokyo 2020, after the silver obtained in Rio de Janeiro 2016.

"The two World Cups that come next year are my challenge and I have always said that I am a woman of challenges," says Rojas with confidence in the face of the long recovery process that she faces. "I am very optimistic (...), although it has been difficult to cope with this stage."

The Indoor World Cup will be held in Nanjing, China, between 21-23 March 2025 and the Outdoor World Cup will be in Tokyo from 13-21 September.

Rojas' ambition remains intact. With seven triple jump world titles in her record, four outdoors (2017, 2019, 2022 and 2023) and three indoors (2016, 2018 and 2022), she hopes to match the nine of the Cuban phenom Iván Pedroso, her coach.

Pedroso won in her specialty, the long jump, four outdoor world golds (1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001) and five indoor (1993, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001).

"My coach knows that he must continue trembling, because I am not going to give up until he is dethroned in titles," Rojas says with a laugh.

Touch people's hearts

The athlete participated remotely in an event by her foundation, 'Yulimar Rojas 45', which awarded this Thursday 10 scholarships to athletes from Venezuela who will compete in Paris 2024 and five to athletes who are seeking qualification.

The weightlifters Julio Mayora and Keydomar Vallenilla, winners of silver medals in Tokyo 2020 who will now try to climb the podium once again, are among those who benefited.

"Through sport we can touch people’s hearts ... Competitively I will not be in Paris, but I know that through these athletes and the Venezuelan delegation that will participate, I will be there," said Rojas. "I'm going to be in those hearts."

Middle distance runner José Maita, gold medalist in the 800 metres at the Pan American Games in Santiago 2023, was also awarded a scholarship while he battles for his Olympic spot.

"We assume the commitment, the responsibility," declared Maita. "We are going to work hard to leave our name at the top of the podium, as our Yulimar Rojas has done many times."