Florentina Marincu on her way to winning the long jump at the 2013 World Youth Championships (© Getty Images)
It happened in one of the final events of the last day of the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships, but Romania’s Florentina Marincu became the only athlete of the week to win gold medals in two individual events.
Fittingly, the championships concluded with victory for Jamaica in the boys’ Medley Relay, setting a championship record to boot and bringing their gold-medal tally to six, topping the medals table.
In the girls’ Long Jump final it was Triple Jump bronze medallist Keturah Orji who took an early lead with her round-one leap of 6.06m. She improved to 6.20m in round two as US team-mate Courtney Corrin trailed by just one centimetre.
After opening with 5.85m and 5.93m, Marincu needed a big jump to stay in the competition. And she did just that, flying out to 6.42m to jump straight into the lead.
She stayed in that position for the rest of the competition, but there were many other changes. Poland’s Natalia Chacinska jumped 6.22m in round five, while Brazil’s Janaina Fernandes jumped 6.21m.
All of a sudden both US athletes were out of the medals, but not for long as Orji pulled out a PB leap of 6.39m in the final round to reclaim the silver medal as Chacinska held on to the bronze.
World youth best for Jamaican boys in Medley Relay
A Jamaican crossing the finish line in first place has been a common sight at these championships, so it made sense that they did so one last time in the final event of the day, the boys’ Medley Relay.
As soon as the baton was handed to second-leg runner Michael O’Hara – winner of the 200m final earlier in the day – there was no looking back for the Jamaican team. He handed over to Okeen Williams, the 400m hurdler who fell in yesterday’s final, before Martin Manley – the individual 400m champion – took up the running on the final leg.
Despite a strong challenge from Ryan Clark on the last leg for the USA, Manley held on to the lead and crossed the line in 1:49.28 to break the World youth best. It was only the second time ever at the World Youth Championships that USA had been beaten in the boys’ Medley Relay, with Jamaica taking their first ever gold medal in the event.
USA took silver in 1:50.14, their second-fastest ever clocking for the event after the former World youth best of 1:49.47 they set in Lille two years ago. In third, Japan improved on the national youth best they set to win silver in Lille, clocking 1:50.52 for the bronze medal.
The girls’ Medley Relay was even more decisive as the USA enjoyed a clear run to gold, following the semifinal disqualification of defending champions Jamaica.
Each of the US team had won medals earlier in the championships, with 100m Hurdles silver medallist Dior Hall handing over to 100m champion Ky Westbrook. Their lead was already significant when Raevyn Rogers, bronze medallist in the 800m earlier in the day, ran the 300m leg to give 400m silver medallist Olivia Baker a sizeable lead.
Baker cruised around a lap of the track to bring home the gold in 2:05.15, USA’s seventh title in this event at the World Youth Championships.
The British Virgin Islands were surprise silver medallists in 2:07.40 while Japan passed China in the home-straight to take bronze in 2:07.61.
Redemption for Ekelund and O’Hara in 200m
Jamaica’s Michael O’Hara and Sweden’s Irene Ekelund were disappointed to miss out on the medals in the 100m, but they turned their experiences in the shorter sprint into motivation for the 200m where they both took gold.
First up was the girls’ final, where Ekelund already had a notable lead coming off the bend. Ecuador’s Angela Tenorio, the 100m bronze medallist, looked as though she may challenge, but the 16-year-old maintained her lead to the finish.
Ekelund’s winning time of 22.92 was a championship record, breaking the 22.99 set by Cuba’s Aymee Martinez in 2005. It was also just 0.10 outside the Swedish senior record, and it takes Ekelund to eighth on the world youth all-time list.
Tenorio took silver with a PB of 23.13, while Washington clocked 23.20 for the bronze medal.
Just fifteen minutes later the boys were out on track for their 200m final. It was a much closer affair with four athletes neck-and-neck for much of the way.
O’Hara pulled slightly ahead with 60 metres to go, but Brazil’s Vitor Hugo dos Santos was carried along with him. The Jamaican held on for the win though, clocking a PB of 20.63 – the third-fastest time ever by a Jamaican youth.
Dos Santos was just 0.04 behind to take the silver medal, while Cuba’s Reynier Mena took his second bronze medal of the week in 20.79, having earned the same colour medal in the 100m. Britain’s Thomas Somers set a PB of 20.84 for fourth.
Hinriksdottir breathes sigh of relief to win 800m gold
Had Anita Hinriksdottir’s disqualification from the semifinals been upheld, it would have been one of the biggest upsets of the championships. But fortunately for the Icelandic teenager she was reinstated and allowed to run in the 800m final.
She wasn’t taking any chances this time and she took the lead just before the bell, which was reached in 58.25. She eased off the pedal slightly over the next 200m, but had saved enough energy for the home straight, striding clear to win in 2:01.13, breaking the championship record set by Kenya’s Cherono Koech in 2009.
USA’s Raevyn Rogers, who had led for most of the first lap, didn’t fade too much in the second half, but was caught on the line by Ethiopia’s fast-finishing Dureti Edao, 2:03.25 to 2:03.32 as both athletes set PBs. Australia’s Georgia Wassall finished exactly one second behind Rogers in fourth.
Championship record for Biwott as Kejelcha spoils hopes of triple gold for Kenya
With three distance events on the final day of action in Donetsk, Kenya had high hopes of winning gold in all three of them. But that plan was ruined in the first of those finals, the boys’ 3000m.
Vedic Kipkoech was the world youth leader heading into the final and he led for most of the way, passing 1000m in 2:44.97 then speeding up to pass 2000m in 5:23.34. But Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha then took charge before the final lap.
Kipkoech couldn’t catch his tall rival and Kejelcha went on to win with a big of 7:53.56. Kipkoech held on for silver in 7:55.60 ahead of team-mate Alexander Munyao, who clocked 7:56.86 for bronze.
It was quite a different story in the boys’ 1500m, though, as Robert Biwott left nothing to chance.
Seemingly inspired by the front-running victory of countryman Alfred Kipketer in the previous day’s 800m final, Biwott adopted similar tactics, albeit at a more manageable pace. He led through the first two laps, reached in 1:56.95, and continued running away from the field.
By the time he reached the bell, his lead was close to 60 metres. The chase pack only gained slightly in the closing stages, but Biwott was well clear, crossing the line in 3:36.77 to improve the championship record by one hundredth of a second.
Eritrea’s Tesfu Tewelde won the race of the chasers, setting a PB of 3:42.14 to take silver from Kenya’s Titus Kibiego (3:42.97).
Two more medals came Kenya’s way in the girls’ 2000m Steeplechase in the form of world youth leader Rosefline Chepngetich and World junior champion Daisy Jepkemei.
The pair were joined by Ethiopia’s Weynshet Ansa for much of the race, but she eventually dropped back on the last lap. It then came down to a sprint finish between the two Kenyans with Chepngetich pulling clear to take gold in 6:14.60, little more than half a second ahead of Jepkemei, who clocked 6:15.12.
Ansa was a distant bronze medallist with 6:30.05, but still managed to finish 10 seconds ahead of team-mate Buzuayehu Mohamed.
Slovenia’s Muhar and Britain’s Coppell win landmark golds
The boys’ Pole Vault final came to life when the bar reached 5.00m, at which height USA’s pre-event favourite Devin King exited the competition.
Five other athletes cleared that height, with Britain’s Harry Coppell doing so on his first attempt to take the lead. But Coppell needed all three jumps to get over the next height, 5.10m, while China’s Huang Bokai took the lead with his second-time clearance and Israel’s Lev Skorish moved into second.
At 5.15m, Coppell regained the lead with a second-time clearance as Huang went over on his third try with Skorish exiting the competition. Both Coppell and Huang went on to clear 5.20m, but once again Huang needed one more attempt than the Briton.
Huang ended with three failures at 5.25m, while Coppell nailed it on his last attempt to add five centimetres to his PB. In doing so, he became Britain’s first ever male gold medallist in the Pole Vault at a global championships.
Slovenia’s Matija Muhar also broke new ground for his country in becoming Slovenia’s first male global medallist in the Javelin.
His victory was clear-cut, as he led the competition with his first-round throw of 78.84m. Finland’s Oliver Helander had thrown 75.36m earlier that round, but he remained in a medal position right until the last round.
Hungary’s Norbert Rivasz-Toth threw 76.88m in round two, later improving to 78.27m to consolidate his silver medal position. But Helander was finally overtaken by Spain’s Pablo Bugallo in the sixth round, his 76.63m taking the bronze medal.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF