Draped over the side of the spectator tribune at the beginning of the back straight at the Chaoyang Sport Centre tonight was a banner with the legend, “Margus Hunt - Winner”. About twenty metres away on the infield in the Shot Put circle, the Estonian thrower of that name, already the winner this week in a World junior record* of the Discus Throw gold, reconfirmed this statement with a fourth round 20.17m put.
While not the first athlete to win two titles at the 11th IAAF World Junior Championships, there is no doubt that Hunt is ‘simply the best’!
And if there were still any doubters remaining including Egypt’s Abdul Mostafa El-Moaty, who ultimately took silver (20.14m), then Hunt silenced them when he followed up with a 20.53m world junior season best with his fifth.
Hunt began the championships with a personal best of 18.61m, which he improved to 18.95m in the qualification round, and now his national junior record is 1.58m better than even that! This is the first ever Shot / Discus title double in World Junior Championship history. Quite stunning!
China’s Yanxiang Guo got bronze (19.97m). USA’s John Hickey was fourth with a second round 19.86m (PB) reinstituted after protest - see Event Final Report for details http://www.iaaf.org/WJC06/news/kind=4/index.html - and in fifth Kuwait got a national junior record via Mashari Mohammad’s 19.79m.
In windless conditions John Robert Oosthuizen became the third South African in the history of these championships to take the men’s Javelin Throw title. Like a couple of the winners here in Beijing this week, this was a pure demonstration of the victor's awesome supremacy. Each of his four valid efforts was beyond the silver medal position of Finland’s Ari Mannio’s 77.26, with a career best of 83.07m in the second round, a championship record, topping the series. The Finn for his part, the furthest junior thrower of the year before tonight, only moved up from bronze to silver on his last effort, denying Roman Avramenko of Ukraine, who had been in silver with 76.01 (PB) since his first throw.
Noel Meyer, South Africa's World Youth champion was 10th (70.39m).
No World record but 5.71m wonderful all the same
A championship record was also the reward for Argentina’s German Chiaraviglio, the World Youth champion, who improved on his junior silver two years ago in Grosseto to take the men’s Pole Vault title with a successful second approach to the bar at 5.71m, a PB. Later attempts at a world junior record of 5.81m were seen to be way beyond the Argentinean’s scope but this level can only be a matter of time. The 19-year-old who is coached by his father also spends time each year in Formia, Italy, under the tutelage of the Ukrainian maestro Vitaliy Petrov, the trainer of a line of distinguished names including the men’s and women’s senior World record holders Sergey Bubka and Yelena Isinbayeva.
Silver and bronze medallists were respectively, Yansheng Yang of China who set a personal best of 5.54m, and Russia’s Leonid Kivalov who vaulted 5.42m.
Two devastating bursts, two Kenyan golds
We delighted in two impressive bursts of acceleration by the winners of the women’s 3000m and men’s 3000m Steeplechase finals.
Firstly, 16-year-old World Youth champion Veronica Wanjiru, claimed junior gold with a devastating turn of speed on the crown of the last bend which deposed of the title hopes of her Kenyan team mate Pauline Korikwiang – 9:02.90 to 9:05.21. China’s Liwei Song who had led at the bell and had first been passed by Korikwiang with 350 to go, held on for bronze (9:06.35) with Ethiopia’s Belaynesh Zemedkun Gebre, who had been part of the leading pack, even more distant by the close in fourth (9:10.92).
Next on track was the steeplechase, and after long time leader Benjamin Kiplagat - who for a while had advantage of over 15 metres on the field - was caught with three laps to go, it came down to a game of chess between two Kenyans, a Moroccan and a Bahraini. Into and out of the last water jump, and Willy Komen and Tareq Mubarek Taher were side by side, virtually locking arms as they flew off the barrier. Yet moments later Taher’s campaign for gold came to a near stop, his leg speed turning from a sprint to a jog, as Komen sped past. Taher seemed mentally stunned by the Kenyan’s final burst, the reduction in his own pace due to the sudden realisation he had met a different class of runner. A lack of belief, rather than mere physical exhaustion.
Komen crossed in 8:14.00, a championship record, Taher held on easily for silver (8:16.64), while a tremendous kick from the second Kenyan Bisluke Kiplagat (8:18.11 PB) managed to catch Abdelghani Ait Bahmad of Morocco, who with 80 metres had looked set for bronze. Still the Moroccan’s 8:20.05 in fourth was at least a national record.
First round knockout – W JT
A championship record also secured the first final of the evening, the women’s Javelin Throw. Going last of the twelve finalists, Germany’s Sandra Schaffarzik, showed there is another Nerius or Obergföll waiting in the wings for the senior tour, improving her personal best from 57.13m to 60.45m to knock the competition into touch. It was to be Germany’s first title in Beijing. Neither she nor her opponents came close to 60m again. Ukraine’s Vira Rebryk’s second round 57.79 for silver – four throws before the German’s big heave – recaptured a briefly lost national junior record. Her team mate Marharyta Dorozhon’s 57.68m PB, having temporarily snatched the national best in the first round, was enough for bronze. At the start of the evening Rebryk had held the national mark at 57.64m.
Last round response – W LJ
Germany was not far away from a second gold in the women’s Long Jump Final with Anika Leipold’s last leap of 6.42m causing Trinidad and Tobago’s Rhonda Watkins a moment or two of tension, as she waited to see if her third round 6.46m lead had been surpassed. In bronze came China’s Yuan Zhang, whose third effort which had held silver for two series of efforts was by contrast one centimetre too short to repel the German’s last round assault.
Gold from start to finish for Chernova
From event one to event seven it was Russia’s gold in the women’s Heptathlon. Tatyana Chernova, with four PBs over the two days entered the final event with a lead of 336 points, and a fatigued 2:25.49 ‘stroll’ in the 800m (750pts), left her secure in gold. Ida Marcussen of Norway who had moved into overall second ahead of another Russian Yana Panteleyeva thanks to a good Javelin this morning, reaffirmed the silver with an 906 point valued run (2:14.07), with the Russian’s 2:15.96 good enough for 879pts. The end totals were as follows - Gold: 6227PB and world junior season’s lead; Silver: 6020 national junior record; Bronze: 5979. Ukraine’s Iryna Ilkevych was fourth in a national junior record of 5952.
Championship record in sprint hurdles
The track events got underway in good fashion this evening as the new height hurdles (99.0cm) saw the latest revision to the young championship record. In the semi-final round of the men’s 110m Hurdles Poland’s Artur Noga knocked two hundredths off the 13.46 second record clocking of Greek Konstadinos Douvalidis from yesterday’s preliminary round.
Of the three semi-final races, after the Pole, whose time in heat two was run into a 1.4m/s wind, the next fastest was France’s Samuel Coco-Viloin in the final race with a 13.63 (-0.4) run, with Douvalidis the next quickest after taking second place in heat two (13.72 / -1.4). Russia’s Vladimir Zhukov won the first race (13.78). Dennis Martin and Darius Reed of the USA, the fastest of the championship entrants, found qualification difficult. Reed went through as the fastest of the two non-automatic qualifiers in 13.83 (3rd heat one), while Martin missing out altogether, third in heat 3 (13.92).
In the 4x400m relay heats, Nigeria brought home an African junior record of 3:33.00 in the women’s preliminary round, while in the men’s 4x400m, Russia’s 3:05.59 world junior season’s lead topped out the qualification round.
Chris Turner for the IAAF
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*subject to ratification