11 MAR 2006 General News

Men's Long Jump Final

The form book held good, but only just, as Ignisious Gaisah of Ghana took gold with an 8.30m leap. In second, just one centimetre down, was Panama’s Irving Saladino with his fourth South American record of the final after a fabulous series. Bronze went to Italy’s Andrew Howe with a personal best 8.19m.

“After my silver medal in Helsinki, I was sure that I could do better,” said Gaisah. But I was very nervous precisely because everybody expected me to be the winner. This medal means a lot to me.”

Bronze medallist Howe said: “I wanted to win, so I am disappointed. I had problems with my back so it was not easy at all.”

There was a low-key start to the final except for Saladino as he was the only one to breach the 8m-mark, hitting the sand at 8.18 for his first new South American Area record. He increased that by one centimetre in the next round as Greece’s Louís Tsátoumas crept over 8m with 8.04 to go briefly into second.

After a 7.86 and a foul, Gaisah finally found his range and landed at 8.27 to snatch the lead away before Saladino responded with his third South American record of 8.27 to go neck and neck with the Ghanaian.

Meanwhile, Howe went into bronze with 8.08 and steadily increased the gap over the Greek 2003 European Cup winner to secure bronze.

As the fourth round got under way and with the order reversed according to placing Gaisah retook the lead with an 8.30. It was to be the last round before Saladino raised himself for a final flourish with 8.29, a brave attempt, but not enough. It was still, however, a significant accomplishment for Panamanian athletics, their first medal ever at the World Indoors.

MB