25 JUL 2010 General News Moncton, Canada

Bogale wins 1500m but Ireland’s Mageean takes historical silver - World Junior Championships - Final Day Wrap

Tizita Bogale of Ethiopia holds off Ireland's Ciara Mageean in the women's 1500m final (Getty Images)Tizita Bogale of Ethiopia holds off Ireland's Ciara Mageean in the women's 1500m final (Getty Images) © Copyright

Ethiopia's Tizita Bogale duly won the race but Ciara Mageean with a stunning performance managed to upset the expected African domination when winning the silver medal ahead of Nancy Chepkwemoi on the final day of the 13th IAAF World Junior Championships at the Stade de Moncton.

Bogale after dominating her semi final, proved the stronger in the finishing straight to produce a PB 4:08.06 as she pulled away from the unrated Irish athlete with Kenya's Nancy Chepkwemoi struggling behind them clocking 4:11.04.

"This is my first time competing at the Championships and I'm delighted to have won it," said Bogale. "The race was very competitive. There was a fierce struggle for the win and I am happy to withstood all that."

Indeed Bogale's victory the first for her country since Abebech Nigussie's success a decade ago, was nearly thwarted by the Mageean who ran an incredible metric mile.
Mageean who set an unheralded National record of 4:15.46 a year ago in Finland and who only came into contention in the last 500m of the race, reduced that mark to a fantastic 4:09.51.

"It's Ireland's first ever medal on the track," said Mageean who many hope will go on to match the achievements of the legendary Sonia O'Sullivan the country's greatest sportswoman.

"I'm so bloody happy, I'm so proud," she proclaimed. "I just wanted to do it for everybody back home and to finish with an Irish record, I'm thrilled."

Asmerawork Bekele who came into the race as the fastest performer but has been ill recently finished last. The Ethiopian struggling from the beginning of the race at least finished and her time of 4:30.02 was nowhere a true reflection of her ability for the future.

Frenchman wins eventful sprint hurdle final

Pascal Martinot-Lagarde after struggling in his semi final produced a vastly more fluent performance but was still a little bit fortunate to win the 110 Hurdles title.

Martinot-Lagarde the first Frenchman ever to win the gold medal clocked 13.52 into a -2.4m/s, to steam clear of Caleb Cross who appeared to have the race sewn up.

But the American after clipping the ninth hurdle then crashed heavily into the last barrier to see his dreams shattered and finished fifth in 13.86.

It wasn't a great day either for pre-race favourite Jack Meredith. Great Britain's world leader had a poor start and although improving and clocking 13.59 lost out on a photo finish to Norway's Vladimir Vukicevic for second place.

Martinot-Lagarde sporting a temporary Acadian flag tattoo on his right cheek, admitted he was expecting a protest from Cross after there was contact between the pair as they chased for the ultimate victory.

"I have to be honest, I have some regrets because at the ninth hurdle there was contact between me and the American in lane seven - I think," said the world's number two ranked athlete this season.

"Up to the middle of the race he was ahead of me. I could really see his chances for the podium. I made him slow down and he made me slow."

Martinot-Lagarde added: "In my opinion I shook him up more."

Vukicevic whose sister Christina is a world class hurdler, said: "I've been training for this all year and to perform here is a big dream come true.

"My sister came second in the hurdles four years ago in Beijing and me doing the same here is unbelievable."

Meredith feeling disconsolate, said: "I should have won. I ran a very tired race. I sort of stumbled out of the blocks but it's all void."

No rivals for Mutua

The long stretching legs of Kenya's David Mutua powering past American rivals Casimir Loxsom and Robby Andrews earned him a thrilling 800 victory.

Mutua who just got quicker and quicker down the home straight as the USA pair tied up after a very first fast lap of 52.18, won in a lifetime best of 1:46.41.

Loxsom and Andrews who seemed to be racing for the gold medal until Mutua's late intervention, clocked 1:46.57 a PB for the former and 1:47.00 as they saw their hopes die in the last 50m.

Mutua was content to stay in the pack as the field led by his fellow countryman Dickson Tuwei went off like greyhounds and through 800m in under 24 seconds.

Not surprisingly Mutua who maintained his momentum died when Loxsom and Andrews struck with half a lap remaining, but they themselves had no response when Mutua came from nowhere to score Kenya's seventh and first victory since Alex Kipchrichir in 2002.

"It was not a very hard race," said Mutua despite his opponents running out of steam in the final 100m. "When we started racing my body showed me I could win.

"When there was 110m left my body woke up and I knew I could win the race. I feel very good."

Ndiku - another Kenyan champion

Earlier there was another Kenyan success when Jonathan Ndiku lived up to his reputation as pre-race favourite when earning a no-nonsense 3000 Steeplechase success to maintain Kenya's his country's domination of the event since it was switched from 2000 metres.

The 12th successive gold medallist and defending champion from the East African nation broke the spirit of teammate Albeert Yator and Jacob Araptany with two laps remaining winning in a time of 8:23.48.

Yator his silver medal placing seeing Kenya on eight occasions scoring a unique 1-2, lowered his PB by five seconds to 8:33.55 with Uganda's Araptany clocking 8:37.02.

It was an uncomplicated victory for Ndiku who came into the Championships with a world leading time of 8:19.25 set at high altitude in Nairobi at the end of June.

His opening pace pulled the Japanese-based 19-year-old into a 12m lead after the first complete lap of the stadium although Yator, Araptany and Ethiopia's Desta Alemu who eventually placed fifth, got back on level terms after a further 300m.

But his easy free running style although his hurdling technique needs plenty of improvement, clearly suggested there was only ever going to be one winner.

Ndiku explaining why he slowed after his first lap break, said: "I was wanting my teammate to come in front of me because I was needing some help."

He added after the country's huge success at all levels of athletics championships: "This race is our culture. It's a Kenyan race."

Championships Hammer record for McCullough

In the field Connor McCullough with three throws over 80m upset the apple cart to keep the hammer title in American hands the best being a huge championships record 80.79m.

McCullough silver medallist in Bydgodszcz two years ago, who also improved his US record of 78.26m produced an excellent series of 77.59, his huge winning effort, 80.18, 78.05, 80.69 and then a no-throw to succeed Walter Henning as champion.

"I was rested up, it all seemed to come together," said McCullough. "So it felt good. I put pressure on right away and that was essential."

McCullough was at his best after a big weight was taken from his mind after learning his father who had fallen down some steps earlier in the week and had to fly home for surgery was doing well.

"The whole team was helping out. I didn't have to worry about it too much. 

Akos Hudi who came into the final with eight of the 10 furthest throws in the world to his name and a leader of 81.15m, had no answer to McCullough's consistency.

The Hungarian produced his best effort in the opening round of 78.37m but never got near the 80m marker. Egypt's Alaa El-Din El-Ashry was third with a best of 76.66m.

Easy win for Fedorov

World triple jump leader Aleksey Fedorov opened with a leap of 16.52m which would have been good enough for the gold medal until he improved to 16.68m with his very next attempt.

The Russian with four clearances over 16m was never put under any serious pressure although Ernesto Reve the latest talent to descend from Cuba's highly developed stable of triple jumpers, cleared 16.47m at his second attempt which remained his furthest.

But it was plain sailing for Fedorov last year's World Youth silver medallist and the first Russian champion for 20 years when Sergey Bykov triumphed in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Omar Craddock although already lying third produced a last round effort of 16.23m to take the bronze medal for the United States.

Fedorov competing a day before his 19th birthday and denied jumping further by a strong headwind, said: "I did my job well I think. I was the best today and I think that's the main thing."

Vukovic writes history
 
Maria Vukovic just a year after finishing ninth at the World Youth Championships came up trumps to unexpectedly snatch a Championships gold medal at a higher level.

The Montenegro 18-year-old who failed to qualify for the final two years, won the small States first ever medal in any event when clearing a height and National record of 1.91m.

Vukovic producing the best performance of her career when it mattered most, squashed the ambitions of Airine Palsyte Lithuania's world leader and favourite who cleared 1.89m and won on countback ahead of Italy's Elena Vallortigara.

"Right now I'm shocked," said the surprised gold medallist. "I can't believe that I jumped 1.91m, I'm first in the world. I'm proud. To have a Montenegran record, it's good." 

USA sweeps Relays

The United States leading from gun to tape and after setting a world leading time in its heat predictably scored what was a fifth successive 4x400 relay success.

Joshua Mance, Errol Nolan, David Verburg and Michael Berry dominated the race as they sped to an impressive time of 3:04.76 which bettered the 3:05.84 they achieved the night before.

Nigeria after moving into second place on the second leg maintained its form to capture the silver medal in a National record time of 3:06.36 while Great Britain was third in 3:06.36.

There was a tremendous leg for the Brits on the final circuit when Jack Green after his side had fallen back to fourth on the third leg, got past his Jamaican medal and almost caught Tobi Ogunmola for second place.

The speed of Laura Roesler on the third leg and the strength of Regina George over the final lap saw the United States women also chalk up a fifth successive 4x400 relay success.

The defending champions won in a world leading time for the year of 3:31.20 as George despite her legs almost buckling, held on to thwart the ambitions of Nigeria and Jamaica who recorded season best's of 3:31.84 and 3:32.24.

"I didn't want anyone to catch me," said George. "I thought I'm going to bring it home, I'm going to bring in the gold. They handed it to me first and I'm going to show them the respect I have for them and not lose this."

On the opening circuit it was even at the changeover between Canada, Nigeria and the Bahamas with the USA's Diamond Dixon also still well in contention.

The host nation to the disappointment of the crowd fell away almost immediately on the second stage where at the next handover Nigeria were in pole position ahead of the USA and Jamaica.

Then came Roesler's magnificent effort where down the home straight she handed the baton into the hands of George with a couple of metres to spare as Chris-Ann Gordon received the baton for Jamaica and Margaret Etim the individual silver medallist, taking it for Nigeria. 

Roesler kept her head over what was a very tense and highly competitive last 400m particularly in the last 50m where Etim edged Gordon to claim Nigeria's second silver medal in the last three Championships.

David Martin for the IAAF