Alexandra Emilianov at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 (© Getty Images)
A 52.78m effort in the second round not only secured Alexandra Emilianov an upset victory in the girls’ discus throw on Wednesday (15), it also marked the first-ever gold medal for Moldova at the IAAF World Youth Championships.
Arriving in Cali with a 51.18m best from a home competition in Chisinau in mid-May, she trailed pre-event favourite Kristina Rakocevic by nearly three metres on the yearly lists.
But her big throw early in the competition knocked a bit of the stuffing out of her main rival, who was simply unable to respond.
Rakocevic, who brought a 53.91m personal best to the Pascual Guerrero Stadium, opened with 48.91m, a lead she padded generously courtesy of a 51.04m throw in round two.
Emilianov met the challenge with her personal best which would ultimately hold on for the victory.
But it was a nail-biter.
After a foul in round three, Rakocevic registered a 50.41m toss in round four, fouled again in the fifth and ended the competition improving marginally to 51.41m with her sixth-round effort.
Her medal was the first for Montenegro at an IAAF World Youth Championships and was only the second at an IAAF championship at any level. In 2010, Marija Vukovic won women’s high jump gold at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Canada.
Both Emilianov and Rakocevic will quickly return to action on Thursday morning in the qualifying round of the shot put.
Samantha Peace took bronze with a 50.59m personal best to collect the first medal in the event for Australia at these championships since 2005 winner Dani Samuels, who would later go on to take world titles at the junior and senior levels.
Alma Patricia Pollorena of Mexico reached a PB 49.25m in round four to finish fourth.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF