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Moore gets the United States out of the starting blocks


Phil Minshull in Bydgoszcz for the IAAF

18 July 1999 - LaShauntea Moore gave the United States its first gold medal of the IAAF World Youth Championships when the Ohio schoolgirl stepped on the accelerator 80 metres from the finish line of the women's 200, and overhauled her Jamaican rival Melanie Walker.

Moore's time of 23.38 was a new personal best and meant that she had sliced a phenomenal 1.2 seconds off her best mark in the last month.

It also meant that the surprising gold medal drought of one of the world's traditional powerhouses of athletics was at an end. "It means a lot to me to get the first US gold here," she said

"I was somewhat confident but I was also scared a lot before the final. I just kept thinking 'See it, feel it, trust it and believe it.' It's a phrase my coach has given me," Moore added.

Now her next ambitions are to overtake her heroine Florence Griffith-Joyner. "I cried when I heard of her death although I never had the opportunity to meet her. But I want to break her world record over 200 - that's my long term goal."

More immediately she hopes to make the US team for the Olympics next year, a phenomenal achievement for a high school student "If I don't make it there than I'll be going to 2004, that's for sure. But I feel making the Sydney team is within my capabilities if I stay focused."

In the race itself, Walker had lead out of the blocks and around the turn but could not resist Moore's charge down the home straight and was second in 23.72.

Shortly after Moore's victory, Britain's Tim Benjamin took the men's 200 metres in a new personal best and a UK under-18 record of 20.72 seconds.

He was a clear winner over Jamaica's Omar Brown, who now has a full collection of medals from Poland after a 100 metres bronze medal and 4x100 metres relay gold. Brown came home second in 21.09.

Kamila Skolimowska gave the Polish hosts their first gold medal with a huge heave of 63.94 in the women's hammer final, a distance only she has beaten in the under-18 age group.

The daughter of a former world junior champion weightlifter was short season's best of 66.62, which she put down to the early hour of the completion which started at 9.30 in the morning.

The triumph on home soil will just be the start of the championship trial for Skolimowska this summer. She goes to the European junior championships in Riga, Latvia, at the start of next month and follows it up later in August with an appearance at the World Championships in Seville.

France added to the women's sprint hurdles title to the men's one won by Ladji Doucoure on Friday. Adrianna Lamalle was a emphatic winner in 13.08, the best time in the world this year. She reduced her own - and the global mark - by 13 hundredths of a second having run 13.21 in the morning's semi-final.

In the final, Lamalle had almost crossed the line as silver medallist Maren Freisen was clearing the final barrier, the German hurdler finishing second in 13.42.

Latvian walker Maris Putenis will be cursing his ill-fortune as he looked set to get his country's first medal of the championships in the men's 10km walk. He lead the race from the gun through to four laps from home, when he was disqualified, leaving the way clear for the Russian duo Evgeny Demkov and Aleksandr Strokov to come home first and second.

Demkov won the race for the gold medal in 42:26.07, taking nearly a minute and a half off his best, after leading the way in the final kilometre. Strokov, who clocked 41:32.2 as a 15 year-old last season, had to settle for second behind his inspired compatriot with 42:36.52.

Hungary's Krisztian Pars was lying only sixth going into penultimate round of the men's hammer but the leader of the qualifying completion re-found his form to send the implement out to a new personal best of 74.76 to keep the inheritance of Tibor Gecsek and Balasz Kiss alive.

Ukraine's Oleksandr Lutsenko, who has thrown 76.24 this year, could not respond in the final two rounds and had to be content with silver medal, finishing more than a metre adrift with 73.68.

 

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