Lazaro Martinez confirmed his pre-competition status as the favourite and extended his country’s successful tradition in the triple jump by taking Cuba’s first gold medal at the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014 with a championship record of 17.13m.
A world junior leader by almost a metre heading into Eugene, Martinez was on fire from his opening jump, landing at a championship record of 17.08m, four centimetres longer than his countryman Yoelbi Quesada’s mark set in 1992.
He sealed his victory with 17.13m, another championship record, in the following round. After a foul with his next attempt and passes in the fourth and fifth rounds, he ended his series with 16.39m.
Germany’s Max Hess finished second with a personal best of 16.55m in the second round while Brazil’s Mateus de Sa entered the mix for the medals and finished third with a national junior record of 16.47m, also in in the second round.
Another Cuban, Andy Diaz, had a wind-assisted 16.43m on his final attempt but it was not enough to reach the podium.
Martinez, the world youth champion, doesn’t turn 17 until later in the year so he stands a chance to become the first male triple jumper to win back-to-back world junior titles in Kazan 2016. His compatriot Dailenys Alcantara accomplished that feat in 2008 and 2010.
Martinez joined past Cuban male champions in this event: Yoelbi Quesada in 1992, Rene Hernandez in 1996, David Girat in 2002 and Pedro Pablo Pichardo in 2012. A third of the island’s 24 world junior titles have been won in the triple jump.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for IAAF