News20 Jul 2002

Final day is magic in Kingston


Final day is magic in Kingston
David Martin (PA) for the IAAF 

21 July 2002 – Kingston - Rarely has any major athletics championships produced the incredible scenes witnessed tonight in Jamaica's National Stadium in Kingston when the host nation won the IAAF World Junior women's 4x100 metres gold medal.

Already a 36,000 sell-out - just before the race started, spectators were trying to climb over the walls to watch - a thrilling contest lived up to its billing as the Jamaican's beat off a very strong challenge from the United States, with third placed Great Britain out of contention.

The winning quartet of Sherone Simpson, Kerron Stewart, Anneisha Mclaughlin and Simone Facey, were under immense pressure throughout from the Americans, but on each leg there were blistering displays, capped by a superb anchor leg from Simone Facey.

The 100m silver medallist produced a magical dash up the home straight, fetching the host nation across the line in a championship record  - and second fastest ever - time of 43.40.

The United States team whose predecessors set the previous world junior record of 43.38 in 1999, finished in 43.66 with the Britons running 44.22s their quickest of the year.

When Facey crossed the line, the crowd already screaming at fever pitch erupted to a new ear splitting, decibel level. The victory also prompted an overwhelmed Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson to celebrate with a congratulatory kiss on the cheek of the country's first lady.

Hardly had the crescendo of sound died, than the joyous spectators, revelling and sharing their side's joy, brought it back to its previous level when the men's 4x100m relay got underway. The sense of anticipation of a further gold medal caused another cacophonic eruption to every ones' ears.

However on this occasion the Jamaican's met their match - although it took a world junior record from the United States who with slick baton changing, stormed to victory in 38.92.

It was the first time 39 seconds had ever been bettered at junior level, a testament of the skill of the American selection of Ashton Collins, Wes Felix, Ivory Williams and Willie Hordge. Both runners-up Jamaica and bronze medallists Trinidad and Tobago posted new national records of 39.15 and 39.17. 

The relay action continued at a momentous level. The women's 4x400m saw the first three teams to finish set new national records. Lashinda Demus clinched victory for the United States.

The winner of the 400m hurdles in a world record time, passed Lisa Miller 30 metres from the line, denying Great Britain defending their title. The US ran 3:29.95 the third fastest ever achieved, the runners-up 3:30.46 and Russia 3:30.72. 

The US also won the men's race clocking 3:03.71 to hold off the challenge of Jamaica who set a national record of 3:04.06. Japan were a surprise third in 3:05.80.

Having already won the 3000m final on Tuesday's opening day, Meseret Defar achieved a marvelous double when also improving on the 5000m silver medal she won two years ago in Santiago de Chile.

With seven rivals together at the bell, a last lap burn-up - and a terrific kick from 150m - saw Defar after making her break untouchable, as she won in 15:54.94.

Runner-up was her Ethiopian team mate Tirunesh Dibabar who clocked 15:55.99 with Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot third in 15:56.04.

Caribbean champion Anay Tejeda opened the last day's action in fabulous style. But for a following wind of 3.4 metres-per-second, she would have smashed the long standing world and championship records of 12.84 and 12.96s Aliuska Lopez set in Cuban colours in 1987 and 1988.

But it was still a mighty impressive win by Tejeda in 12.81. Behind the Cuban gold medallist, Poland's Agnieszka Frankowska was a distant runner-up in 13.16. There was also plenty of space between her and bronze medallist Tina Klein of Germany who ran 13.23.

With the wind again over-the-limit (+2.6m/s), Antwon Hicks added to the US domination of the championships, winning the 110m hurdles and his country's sixth gold medal in 13.42.

China's Asian champion Shi Dongpeng finished second in 13.58 ahead of Caribbean silver medallist Shamar Sands of the Bahamas who clocked 13.67. 

Surprisingly, given its middle distance heritage, a Kenyan had never won the women's 1500m medal. Viola Kibiowot winning in 4:12.57 rectified the default.

The tiny Kenyan producing her fastest ever metric mile, easily held of Ethiopia's Berhane Herpassa (4:13.59). A personal best of 4:14.32 won the bronze medal for Russia's Olesya Syreva.

A dominating sprint from Yassine Bensghir to the finishing line with half-a-lap remaining gained a second 1500m gold medal for Morocco at the distance, in the last three championships.

Clocking a personal best 3:40.72 Bensghir destroyed the challenges aimed in his direction with a second kick in the final 100 metres from Qatar's Abdulrahman Suleiman silver medallist in 3:41.72, with Tanzania's Samuel Newera only 0.03sec in arrears.

This year's leading performer Igor Janik took the javelin gold medal. The Pole threw 74.16m in the opening round. Runner-up Valdislav Shkurlatov of Russia clinched the silver medal with a last round effort of 74.09m. Third was Korea's Sang-Jin Jung who couldn't improve on his opening throw of 73.99m.

The pole vault saw a world leading performance of 5.55m as Maksym Mazuryk defeated fellow Ukrainian Vladyslav Revenko on countback.

Third was Vincent Favretto who clinched bronze with a 5.40m. The Frenchman's better sequence gained him the medal from Stavrous Kouroupakis of Greece, Artem Kuptsov from Russia and his team mate Jerome Clavier who all cleared the same height.

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