Anna Ruh (L) and Shanice Craft of Germany pose after winning gold and silver medal on the Women's Discus Throw Final on day six of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona on 15 July 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
With a personal best 63.14, Rüh came into tonight’s final confident she could become the first German champion since the legendary Ilke Wyludda took gold for the Democratic Republic back in 1986 and 1988. Meanwhile, team-mate Shanice Craft whose PB 62.92 is the second best by a junior this year, was highly motivated by the gold medal she won in the Shot Put on the opening day of the championships.
Craft was the first to strike with an opening effort 58.44 which responded to Rüh’s own 55.25 but it was Shelbi Vaughan of the USA who in an attempt to gatecrash the Germans’ party unleashed a mighty 58.46 in round 2 to take the lead by a mere 2 centimetres. Meanwhile Rüh’s improved to 57.87 but still lied in third.
Round 3 saw yet another change at the top despite fouls from Rüh and Vaughan as Craft managed 58.51, the lead was hers by 5 centimetres only. But as it turned out she wouldn’t enjoy that position for long as Vaughan became the first woman to break 60 metres tonight with a fourth round 60.07.
Going into the final round, the scoreboard read Vaughan ahead of Craft with Rüh still in a disappointing third despite her fifth round improvement to 58.48.
The blond German regrouped formidably saving her best for last and as the discus was flying in the air a loud roar from the crowd preceded the official announcement. With a mighty 62.38 last round Rüh finally managed to move to the top and she did so right when it mattered most.
Although temporarily back in third, Craft proved she was no fluke and she too saved her best for last her 60.42 performance not being good for gold but enough to see her jump back in silver.
Unable to improve, Vaughan had to be content with bronze after having swapped position in the lead for most of the competition.
Notably there was a National Junior record 56.17 for Sositina Hakei although the New Zealander in fourth never reached the heights of the leading trio.
China, who has an incredible tradition having won no fewer than 7 times the World Junior Championships title, had to be content with fifth tonight as Siyu Gu, a 60.59 performer, could only master 55.78 on the evening.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF