There was a good share of drama in the men’s Long Jump final here in Moncton as all three medals were awarded in the last round of the competition.
Eventually, it was World season leader Luvo Manyonga of South Africa who came out on top with a winning last round 7.99 just 9 centimetres clear of 2008 bronze medallist Eusebio Caceres of Spain.
However, the most acclaimed performer of the night was Taylor Stewart who managed a 7.63 sixth round effort to claim Canada’s first medal of the Champioships in bronze.
Rewind back one round and standings looked like this: Caceres in first at 7.72, Manyonga second at 7.70, Jhamal Bowen of Panana in bronze medal position at 7.49 and Stewart just behind 1 centimetre off the podium.
Curiously jumpers had to wait over 10 minutes while the order was reshuffled for the last round but when they were given the green light fireworks started. Caio Cezar dos Santos of Brazilian who had been lying in eighth until that point landed at a would-be bronze medal position 7.53 moving Bowen out of the podium and pushing Stewart further away from his ambitions of winning the host country’s first medal of the championships.
He was not going to end up without giving it his all and supported by the loudest cheer of the evening, Stewart set off for what would be his best effort of the day. He knew as soon as he landed that he had achieved something big. The scoreboard confirmed he had finally managed to grabbed third.
With Bowen jumping 7.45 in the last round, the medal for Canada was secured and attention turned to the battle for gold.
Manyonga had obviously saved his best for last as he sailed over to a winning 7.99 and jumping back into first, a position he had held for all the competition but the fifth round.
It was now down to Caceres to respond. The Spaniard who had already won bronze two years ago in Bydgoszcz was here with a purpose and although he jumped his best of the evening at 7.90 it was not going to be enough for him to grab the most precious medal of all.
Manyonga could finally celebrate draped in a South African flag: “The competition was not bad, but the wind was too much for me, and the knee was a problem,” he said.
“The injury was two weeks ago in Finland. When I put ice on it, it feels better.
[“Before the last jump] I was feeling good because I was looking for a gold medal and on the last jump, I did my best.
“I've jumped over 8m a few times. But not with wind like this. I think Commonwealth is next.”
Caceres said: “I started off not quite as well as I would have liked to have started, but I gathered momentum and it wasn't too bad.
“We both did our best, and he ended up getting the higher score. He was better at that particular time.”
Finally Stewart declared: “I feel great right now. It’s a great place to win a medal, in Canada. Everyone was behind me.
“It’s the best thing I could ask for, really. Coming off of an injury so it was a great competition. I hope the eight [metres] comes soon but I can’t be too picky right now. Third place is good enough for me.
“I would say it was a storybook win – just the crowd, everybody was behind me.”
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF