07 MAR 1999 General News

Men long jump final

Men’s long jump

After Ivan Pedroso flew through the air to land at 8.46, it looked as if he had killed the contest stone dead with the very first jump of the competition. But no-one could have forseen just how thrilling the event would become ... and that Spain’s Yago Lamela would not only put together a splendid series of 8.10, 8.29, 8.42, 8.26 but almost win with his last effort of 8.56 - a European indoor record. The 21 year-old Asturian could hardly believe his eyes after his final leap. But he had not reckoned with the phenomenal competitive spirit of Pedroso. Having gone for the world record in his previous attempts the Cuban had not improved and now had just one jump left. With a look of intense concentration, he steadied himself before sprinting flat out, hitting the board perfectly and soaring high into the air. As he landed, it was clear that he had come close to Lamela’s best. Then the mark came up - 8.62 - and the stadium erupted into cheers and applause. With a championship record the Cuban missile had achieved his target again. It was athletics at its most intense and memorable. The bronze medal went to Erick Walder of the USA (8.30) and the first seven were all over 8 metres.

Gold Medallist - PEDROSO Ivan (CUB)
"I had too many foul jumps but luckily a couple of good ones too. I felt very strong and I had all the self-confidence to win. I knew that if I got the last one (change over) clean I could make that the big one.
I have been jumping over 850 so many times I knew I could make it."

Silver Medallist - LAMELA Yago (ESP)
"I was not expecting to do so well, but now I guess I will just go with it. Above all I would like to thank my coach and my family because they were essential in me achieving this result.
This is only a start and I hope to continue my path in Seville where competition will be even tougher. I came here looking for the Spanish record, but 850 was a surprise and an unexpected bonus."

Bronze Medallist - WALDER Erick (USA)
"I had some problems with my approach and I was not hitting the board well. Also I was leaning back more than I should have so that hindered my performance. I sort of got myself together for the last jump but that was too late already. Overall I guess it was not too bad."