06 MAR 2004 General News

Men Long Jump Final

The long jumpers tonight answered any criticism made of the current state of their event by producing the first-ever world indoor championship competition with eight-metre performances by eight finalists.  Seven of the eight surpassed that benchmark distance at least twice, adding further to the claim of a high-quality competition. 

It was a back-and-forth battle up through the midway point, as five of the eight at one point held the lead.

Year leader Savante Stringfellow eventually emerged as the top of the pack with a third-round 8.40, a mark which would stand as the evening's best.

Beckford, jumping at the bottom of the order, was always just a step behind Stringfellow, but the Paris second-placer last summer compiled an outstanding series, peaking with a final-attempt 8.31 for the silver medal.

Russia's Vitaliy Shkurlatov had problems all evening finding the jumping board, but one of his two legal attempts was 8.28 and that sufficed for the bronze.

Behind the medallists was an unbroken string of personal and season bests.  Romania's Bogdan Tarus (8.26) clipped the PB 8.23 of Volodymyr Zyuskov of Ukraine for fourth, while Chris Tomlinson of Great Britain had his first taste of eight metres indoors, with a final-jump national record 8.17 for sixth.

Former European champion Kirill Sosunov of Russia leaped 8.16 to outpace five-time world indoor champion Ivan Pedroso of Cuba, at 8.09.