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.”
There were tears, many tears, in the final of the women’s Triple Jump tonight in Barcelona. Tears of joy for Spain’s Ana Peleteiro who conquered the first gold medal for the host country since Concepcion Montaner’s Long Jump win back in 2000 and tears of despair for Liuba M. Zaldivar of Cuba, the World leader at 13.91 before the final who had to settle for bronze in what proved to be a wonderful competition.
Dovilé Dzindzaletaité of Lithuania, second best in the field at 13.72 before the event started, may not have shared any tears, her performance was worthy of the fabulous show as she claimed her country’s fourth medal in the history of the championships, a silver.
But let’s rewind and start from the beginning.
Jumping first Dzindzaletaité opened with 13.59 and Zaldivar responded with 13.62. But that was before the real fireworks started.
Local heroine Peleteiro, a World Youth medallist in Lille 2011 improved her own national record to 13.63 with her sole attempt of the qualification round yesterday and she struck again the first time of asking this evening with another National Junior record 13.64.
Second round and immediate response from Zaldivar who landed at 13.90 just one centimetre off her personal best. The Cuban looked satisfied and certainly never expected such a quick and swift response from Peleteiro who was having the time of her life in the in-field.
Yet again the Spanish had a perfect take off on the board and landed oh so far in the sand. The scoreboard flashed 13.96, the 16-year-old’s third personal best and National Junior record in three jumps! That is when the first few tears flooded.
Having already improved by 43 centimetres no-one and least of all Peleteiro herself would have expected that the next time around there would be another improvement. And yet history is never written until it’s happened…Peleteiro’s third round 14.17 was yet another massive record and World Junior leading performance. Other tears flooded but as we would soon learn the competition was far from being over.
Standing in third Dzindzaletaité had a superb fifth round attempt which was clearly over the 14 metres mark. The wait was long for Peleteiro and the scoreboard flashed 14.17, the Lithuanian herself matching the World Youth best performance.
Both athletes fouled their last attempt and gold was Peleteiro’s with her second best effort 13.96 being 23 centimetres better than Dzindzaletaité’s 13.73 from round 3.
Zaldivar had to settle for third unable to improve on her second round 13.90. She was unable to control her disappointment and needless to say Peleteiro broke down into tears yet again, this time as the reigning World Junior champion.
It was a superb competition and superb couple of days for the youngest in the field from Galicia who improved by an enourmous 64 centimetres. Peleteiro, born in 1995 will be eligible for next year’s World Youth Championships in Donetsk and the next edition of these championships in Eugene 2012. One can only imagine what other fireworks she may be able to treat us to.