The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
With barely 19 centimetres covering the respective career bests of the 12-women in contention, the contest promised to be tight and that forecast didn’t fail at all as only one centimetre separated the gold and the silver medallists in the guise of Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Germany’s reigning European Junior champion Lena Malkus.
On her busy week here in Barcelona, Olympic Heptathlon qualifier Johnson-Thompson of Great Britain advanced to the 100m Hurdles semi finals this morning in a PB of 13.48 only one day after improving her LJ career best to 6.51 to lead the qualifiers.
Her team-mate and season’s leader at 6.64m Jazmin Sawyers also has a combined events background as she took part in the Heptathlon at last year’s World Youth Championships in Lille.
It was Sawyers who took the early lead thanks to a 6.67 (+1.2) opening leap while Johnson-Thompson produced a wind-assisted (+2.7) 6.57 still valid to place herself in the runner-up position. Brazil’s Jessica Carolina Dos Reis was the early third-placed thanks to her 6.51 leap closely followed by Malkus’ 6.47.
Romania’s Alina Rotaru displaced Dos Reis from the bronze position with a 6.52 second-round effort while Johnson-Thomson proved to be in stellar form to land at 6.81 (+2.5) in round 3 to take the top spot with 14 centimetres to spare over Sayers who wouldn’t manage any other valid attempt for the rest of the contest.
Jamaica’s Chanice Porter moved to third in round 4 as she leapt 6.58 for a national record but none of the leading athletes improved their performance neither in round 4 nor in round 5.
As usual, the closing round provided big emotions when Malkus flew to a massive 6.80 (+2.7) to exchange her previous sixth position for a provisional silver medal. Sawyers also fouled her last try and the distraught Briton had to be content with a double consolation in the guise of a bronze medal and a world leading performance of 6.67 while Johnson-Thomson didn’t get a valid mark at her last jump of the evening maybe already thinking of tomorrow’s 100m Hurdles semi-finals.
It took 24 years for the World Junior Long Jump title to return to Great Britain after Fiona May became the last British champion back in 1988.