The World Junior season’s leader, Rhonda Watkins became the first woman from Trinidad and Tobago to win an IAAF World title as she claimed gold in the women’s Long Jump here in Beijing.
The CAC Long Jump champion, Watkins took the lead with her third-round effort of 6.46m which eventually proved to be enough for gold.
"This is a very big deal for my country, especially for the field events which have often been overshadowed by the sprint events," said Watkins after her win.
"I was behind the board with all my jumps, I tried to extend my stride pattern but still didn't manage to get exactly on the board."
Second in the World Junior lists, Germany’s Anika Leipold was catapulted from sixth to silver medal position when she leapt 6.42m in the final round leaving Asian Junior champion Yuan Zhang in third just one centimetre behind.
Zhang opened with a 6.38m effort which saw her leading the contest until round three. Although she herself improved to 6.41m, her position at the top of the ranking was taken by Watkins’ 6.46m, eventually the winning jump.
Charlène Quernel of France moved into bronze medal position in round three with a new personal best effort of 6.37m.
The medal positions remained unchanged until the final round of jumps when Leipold improved to second leaving a disrupted Quernel out of the podium.
In seventh Ivana Spanovic set a new national record of 6.23 for Serbia while last year’s World Youth champion Arantxa King who will still be eligible to compete in Bydgoszcz 2008 was a distant tenth with 5.57m.
Interestingly, Watkins also competed in yesterday’s High Jump qualification round but failed to advance to the final.