Talk of the great Cuban triple jump school has been prevalent both here in Cali and in the wider athletics community this season, yet the Romanian school in clearly not too shabby after Georgiana Iuliana Anitei secured her country’s fourth title in this event at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 on Saturday (18).
It was a routine win for Anitei, who led from the first round, bounded out to the four longest jumps of the competition and matched the outdoor world-youth-leading mark with 13.49m.
In a tight scrap for the minor medals, in which only 10 centimetres separated second to seventh, Zeng Rui of China was rewarded for her superior consistency to edge Cuban Yanna Anay Armenteros to the silver on count-back after both registered a best of 13.04m.
And spare a thought for France’s Ilionis Guillaume, who finished just two centimetres shy of a medal in fourth having finished an agonising fourth in Thursday’s girls’ 100m hurdles, where she missed out on a medal in that event by 0.02.
In a swirling wind, Anitei imposed her dominance on the field in round one by sailing out to an outdoor season’s best of 13.36m to open up a 40-centimetre lead on the best of the rest, which after the opening stanza was Russia’s Aliza Kuznetsova.
Zeng was the main beneficiary in round two, leapfrogging Kuznetsova by equalling her PB of 12.98m to take a tentative early hold on the silver medal.
The fascinating scrap for the minor medals took another twist in round three as Sweden’s Fanny Ernestam matched Zeng’s best distance and was promoted to the silver position by virtue of a superior second-round effort.
Pre-championship world youth leader Armenteros, who struggled technically in the early rounds and who just scraped into the top eight at the halfway stage, then burst into medal contention in round four with 13.04m only for Zeng to immediately respond by matching that mark with a PB to re-take the silver medal position.
There was no significant activity in the final two rounds save Anitei’s coup de grace of an impressive 13.49m leap with her last effort, the final jump of the competition.
The 16-year-old succeeds her countrywoman Florentina Marincu as the champion in this event. Other previous Romanian champions of this title were Alina Popescu and Cristine Spataru in 2001 and 2003, respectively.
Steve Landells for the IAAF