Spain’s Eusebio Cáceres had led the competition from the very first round. The sprints and jumps specialist had set PBs in the 100m and Long Jump to enjoy a 25-point lead over Czech’s Jaroslav Hedvicák at the end of the first day.
Cáceres pulled ahead even further after the sprint hurdles at the start of day two, but a costly mistake in the High Jump – he passed at 1.86m and failed 1.89m, having to settle for a best of 1.83m – saw Shane Brathwaite of Barbados creep up the rankings from fourth to third, exactly 100 points behind the Spaniard. Hedvicák was still in second.
But who knew that a Barbadian could throw? Certainly not Cáceres, whose 47.47m effort was some five metres shy of Brathwaite’s 52.72m. The gap between the pair reduced dramatically to just 22 points.
Meanwhile, Hedvicák dropped to fifth having thrown just 44.56m and Australia’s Adam Bevis jumped up from sixth to second after an almighty 56.93m javelin throw.
The stage was set for an exciting 1000m to decide the winner. Brathwaite would have to beat Cáceres by roughly one second to be declared the winner. As it turned out, he didn’t just beat him – he thrashed him by 13 seconds!
In doing so, Brathwaite scored 6261 for victory and became the first Barbadian to win a World Youth title. The only other previous medallist from Barbados was Ryan Brathwaite – no relation – who won silver in the sprint hurdles in 2005.
Hedvicák made up for his poor showing in the javelin with a super 2:43.48 run to climb back into second place overall – which pleased the home crowd. Bevis scored the same as Hedvicák, 6212, but had to settle for bronze on count back.
Cáceres suffered the heartbreak of finishing outside of the medals in sixth place. He can take some heart from the fact that he set a PB – but he will surely be disappointed to come so close yet so far away from World Youth gold.