18yearold Ivana Spanovic took a well deserved win in the women’s Long Jump to become Serbia’s first gold medallist in the history of the IAAF World Junior Championships.
Spanovic’s third round 6.61 was five centimetres short of her personal best and national junior record but more than enough to claim the World title in tonight’s final.
Belarus world leader at 6.71, Nastassia Mironchyk could only master 6.46 today and had to be content with silver while Cuba’s Dailenys Alcantara who won the triple jump gold earlier in the week and had only just scraped through today’s final as one of the last qualifiers, set a new personal best 6.41 to claim bronze.
It had taken the Serbian only one try to advance past the qualification round yesterday and tonight she again opened with a good 6.33 which was the best of the field after round one concluded.
As Spanovic fouled her second effort, Alcantara moved into second with a windy 6.24, one centimetre ahead of Mironchyk. At this stage, Poland’s Anna Jagaciak was in fourth with 6.20w and 2005 World Youth champion Arantxa King of Bermuda in fifth with 6.17w.
Round three provided fireworks as Mironchyk jumped into the lead with 6.46 just minutes before Alcantara improved to 6.32 and Germany’s Ksenia Achkinadze went 1 centimetre further at 6.33w.
Gearing up for her third attempt Spanovic was in third and knew she had to respond quick, which she did with eventual winning mark 6.61.
Neither Spanovic (whose last effort was 6.55) nor Mironchyk improved in the last three rounds; only Alcantara saved her best for last as the Cuban’s sixth round effort moved her into third and left Achkinadze into an inconsolable fourth position.
King was eventually fifth at 6.31 with Jagaciak in seventh (6.27) one centimetres off German's Eileen Matthes.
“I aimed at the gold medal and I did it,” said Spanovic. “My recipe for success is hard work, a lot of practice and a good coach!”
High Jumper Dragutin Topic had won gold in 1990 but although Serbian he was competing with a Yugoslavian vest at the time.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF