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Golden jump for Italy's Alessia Trost

Bressanone/Brixen16yearold Alessia Trost confirmed her pre-event status of favourite for winning the girls’ High Jump final at the World Youth Championships here in Bressanone to become Italy’s first ever gold medallist in the 10-year history of this competition.

Italy's first World Youth gold

Previously the Azzurri had ‘only’ managed to win bronze medals – six in total – including Giovanni Galbieri’s showing in yesterday’s 100m final and most famously World silver medallist Andrew Howe who had finished third back in Debrecen 2001.

But today, with a superb determination and massive first time clearances at 1.85 and 1.87, the tall teenager offered her country the first World Youth gold medal in front of her home crowd which included her father Rudi, her mother Susanna and former World record holder and Italian legend Sara Simeoni.

“I can’t get my thoughts together,” were Trost’s first words when she finally managed to leave the track after having embraced most of the officials and fans  gathered behind the high jump area.

“It still has to sink in. I don’t know if I can even get some sleep tonight. By tomorrow maybe I will have realised what I have achieved.”

Enjoying the competition

The 1.88 tall hailing from Pordenone in the Veneto region, 300 kilometres South East of Bressanone who had had a clean sheet in the qualification round two days ago made only one mistake in today’s final when she knocked down the bar at 1.79.

“I immediately put that failure behind me,” she explained. “I forgot about it just as soon as it happened.”

And indeed she sailed well clear with her second attempt and would commit no further mistake up until her winning mark at 1.87, just one centimetre off her personal best set in her home town back in May.

“When I cleared 1.85 I thought I had won it,” she admitted. “But then two girls cleared it so I just said let’s go for another height.”

Trost whose name has origins in the former Yugoslavia confessed she didn’t feel too comfortable with competing twice in the space of three days. However she quickly took to the duty.

“I am not used to competing in qualification rounds and then finals so in between the two I was a bit nervous. But then today I felt really relaxed. I enjoyed it.”

All round athlete

Trost made her first approach to the sport when aged 6 she started running the odd cross country race. “My dad used to be a race walker so I followed him and ran around for a bit. Then when I was old enough to join the club I started competing.

“What event? I used to do a bit of everything. I still do the combined events and will probably compete in some Heptathlon near the end of the season.”

An only child, Trost was brought up in a sporting environment, her dad being a decent basketball player as well as athlete and her mother a volleyball player.

“They’ve asked me to join the basketball club but I don’t like it,” she smiles before revealing. “I practiced Biathlon for 2 years.”

An all-round athlete she jokes that she’s “better at shooting than skiing!”

A foreign language student, she speaks English and German as well as her native Italian, Trost had no idea she had made herself a name in the history of athletics in an event so important in the heart of Italian fans.

After the likes of Simeoni, an Olympic champion in 1984, and Antonietta Di Martino, the World silver medallist in Osaka, Trost is now the next big high jump talent and the first ever Italian to win gold in the Youth age category.

“Wow! The first? I had no idea! What a great feeling!

“It’s my commitment,” she said of following in the footsteps of Italian iconic jumpers. “I hope one day I reach the same levels as these great ladies but for now all I’m doing is enjoying the sport. Knowing that Sara is here watching is obviously extra pleasure for me.”

With her nails painted a strange blue “azzurro,” she corrects, “actually the only similar colour we could find,” Trost chooses Russia’s Anna Chicherova as the high jumper she looks up to as far as technique is concerned.

“Technically, I do a pre-run up, then four slow steps and then three quicker steps. I should then run the next steps in a curve but I really can’t get it right!”

One can only imagine how high she can get once she does get it right.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF