09 JUL 2011 Report Lille, France

Girls' Hammer Throw Final – James claims first UK gold

Louisa James of Great Britain celebrates winning the Girls' Hammer in Lille (Getty Images)Louisa James of Great Britain celebrates winning the Girls' Hammer in Lille (Getty Images) © Copyright

Taking control of the competition in the second round, Louisa James captured the first gold medal of these Championships after her victory in the Hammer Throw.


James, who celebrated her 17th birthday just four days ago, launched a 57.13m career best to take not only Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s first gold of the Championships, but the first medal of any kind in this event.


"It hasn't sunk in yet, I am in shock as I was only ranked ninth before today, I was a bit of an underdog” said James, whose previous best was 56.13m. “And it was a PB, which is cool. I didn't think my throw would go that far, I thought it'd be around 55 metres. Who knew it would go to 57m?"


James needed every bit of that to score her upset victory.


Poland’s Malwina Kopron set the tone with a 57.03m throw in the first round, while Romania’s Roxana Perie opened with a 56.75m effort, personal bests for both.


But James, who opened with a solid 55.79m, stopped her opponent’s moment with her blast in the second round, with which the trio unsuccessfully played catch up.


James didn’t threaten the mark – her best was her follow-up of 54.07m in the third round – but neither could the Pole and Romanian. It was Croatia’s Petra Jakelic who put the leading trio’s nerves on edge in round four when her best throw of the day measured 56.62m.


With her winning effort, James moved up to No. 7 on the 2011 world youth list, while Kopron, who was aiming to duplicate the success scored by her late compatriot Kamila Skolimowska at the inaugural edition of the Championships in 1999, broke into the season’s top-10.


Bob Ramsak for the IAAF