Jacko Gill of New Zealand celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's Shot Put on the day two of the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
The imposing 17-year-old who had stolen the honorary title of Youngest ever World Junior champion when winning this competition two years ago in Moncton from none other than Usain Bolt was head and shoulders above the rest of the field. A feat the international audience is now accustomed to.
Gill set a World Youth all-time best 24.35 with the 5kg implement when winning the IAAF World Youth Championships last year in Lille, a competition in which his winning margin was a whopping 4 metres!
Coming into Barcelona, Gill had set his sights not only on defending his title but also the World Junior record his predecessor in the World Junior honours lists David Storl - World Junior champion in 2008 - still holds at 22.73.
Gill did defend his title but the icing on the cake was not meant to be although the affable teenager did throw no fewer than four times over 22 metres. Needless to say none of his opponents reached that mark in tonight’s final.
However, the opposition was much closer this time around and for once one young man in the likes of Krzysztof Brzozowki dared sit in the lead of the competition albeit for very few minutes. Throwing first, Gill opened with a Championships record 21.74 with the Pole, 12th and last in the order of throw, edging him by a narrow margin his first effort landing at a National Junior record of 21.78.
Needless to say, Gill did not like to find himself trailing and throwing next he set the record straight with a second round 22.19, his third Championships record of the day after his morning qualifier of 21.50 which was then the best ever recorded mark in the history of this competition.
Brzozowki did not improve but looked very satisfied with silver while Australia’s Damien Birkinhead, who opened with a 20.44 – securely in third from the first time of asking – improved to a National Junior record 21.14 in round 5.
No other man in the field reached 21 metres. In fact no other man in the field reached 20 metres tonight!
Meanwhile, Gill continued in his own zone with a hefty 22.15 in round 3 and the eventual winning mark 22.20 in the penultimate round.
Although a gold medallist at IAAF World Championships for the third time in three years Gill was not satisfied with his job today. "I did not compete well today. I’m going to go back and train. Yes maybe it’s a Championships record, but it’s not my PB," he commented.
Indeed Gill’s personal best stands at 22.30 and with another year to go in the Junior rankings it may well be that Gill not only follows into Storl’s footsteps as the World Junior champion but also as the World Junior record holder.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF