It took Phillips Idowu a new British record 17.75m to claim his country’s first gold medal of the championships after his team-mates secured no fewer than four silvers this weekend.
The 29-year-old European Indoor champion improved World Outdoor record holder Jonathan Edward’s national indoor mark by 11 centimetres in the second round of a competition in which he also jumped 17.56 and 17.45!
Idowu also moved up to fifth in the all-time World indoor lists behind World record co-holders Christian Olsson and Aliecer Urrutia, Leonid Voloshin and Mike Conley.
24-year-old Arnie David Girat who had the furthest jump in Friday’s qualification round opened with a 17.43 personal best to take the lead off Idowu’s 17.10 opening effort. The only other jumper to clear 17 metres (17.06) in the first round, Osniel Tosca eventually finished sixth with a season’s best of 17.13.
But the spotlight was elsewhere tonight. After a first round foul, Osaka World champion Nelson Evora landed at 17.26 for second a position which he didn’t hold for long as the next athlete up was eventual winner Idowu.
His hop, step and jump looked like it was going to be massive right from take off and the British champion knew it straight away. Idowu waited for the scoreboard to flash 17.75, an improvement of 19 centimetres over his indoor best.
Former World Junior champion Girat responded well improving his mark by another 4 centimetres but was still 28 centimetres short for gold.
In round three, only Evora improved but only by one centimetre leaving him a very angry man in the infield. In the end it was this 17.27 jump that would secure him the gold medal as Italy’s Fabrizio Donato jumped that same distance in round 4 but didn’t have a good enough second jump to overtake the Portuguese champion.
There were no other improvements in the final two rounds and Idowu became the first British athlete ever to win a Triple Jump World Indoor title. Girat's 17.47 was worth silver, the Cuban taking his country's seventh World Indoor medal in the history of the event.
“I knew it was going to be hard beforehand,” said the newly crowned champion. “So I kept on going. The aim when I came here was to get the World indoor record and now I have to move forward. Of course I have to be happy with this gold medal. I knew that the medal had to be mine.”
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF