Yigrem Demelash of Ethiopia celebrates winning the men's 10,000m at the World Juniors in Barcelona (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report 10 July 2012 – Barcelona

Craft produces major shock with Kenya and Ethiopia also winning gold – Barcelona 2012 – Day One Evening Report

BarcelonaShanice Craft not ranked amongst this year's World's Top 10 Shot Put performers outdoors (her sole performance of the year was set indoors) stole the limelight on the opening day of the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona when stunning her rivals with her gold medal victory.

The 19-year-old German surprisingly landed her title on a night where in the running finals Mercy Chebwogen triumphed over 3000m for Kenya while Yegrem Demelash of Ethiopia emerged triumphant in the men's 10,000m.

For Craft it was virtually a rags to riches scenario when after leading the morning's qualifying round and raising her personal best from 15.28m to 16.41m she threw a magnificent 2012 World leading mark of 17.15m in the final.

That effort in the opening round proved the winning put as she triumphed ahead of the highly fancied global Number 2 and 3 Yang Gao and Ka Bian who could only muster best efforts of 16.57m and 16.48m.

"I am very happy that I beat the specialists of this discipline," said an elated Craft. "Last week I suffered from a cold and I could not train. That is why I am really very surprised about the result.

Craft now scheduled to compete in the discus, added: "Throwing over 17metres is huge for me. My German fans supported me. I need people to push me."

Gao admitted: "My aim was to achieve the 17 metres mark. To be honest, I was hoping for the gold medal but however I am happy with second place as well."

Women’s 3000m gold stays in Kenya

On the track Chebwogen safely kept the women's 3000m title in Kenyan hands for a fifth successive Championships but herself and runner up Hiwot Gebrekidan of Ethiopia were made to fight every inch of the way for their medals by Emelia Gorecka.

On a night of 11 personal bests including those from the three medallists, Chebwogen produced a decisive sprint over the final 200m to win in a time of 9:08.88 while Gebrekidan who got past a determined Gorecka of Great Britain 25m from the line, recorded 9:09.27.

But the race for the silver medal was a close affair as Gorecka who took the lead and massively increased the pace over the last two laps lost out on what would have been the best British finish since Philippa Mason snatched second at the inaugural Championships in Athens 26 years ago.

"I was here for a medal and I'm extremely happy I got it," said Gorecka an established cross country runner who clocked 9:09.43 and whose tactics ensured there were just herself and the African's in contention over the final circuit.

"It was really hard to be leading the race for such a long time," she added in her attempt to break their domination. "I did so because the pace was dropping and decided to make the race hard for everybody," a statement her rivals will not question.

Third gold of the day goes to Ethiopia

The men's 10,000m as usual was an Ethiopia versus Kenya engagement and it seemed that either Philemon Cheboi and Geoffrey Kirui were poised to claim a third successive win for the latter with their early control of the race.

But Demelash after surviving some erratic changes of pace mainly from Kirui who led from the third to sixth kilometre and passed the halfway point in 14:12.83 took total control in the final three laps.

The 18-year-old who came to the 1992 Olympic Stadium with a PB of 28:39.97 sped over the last kilometre in under three minutes to score his nation's first success since Ibrahim Jeylan's win six years previously.

Cheboi who gave up chasing him won the race for the silver medal also setting a PB of 28:23.98 with Kirui who did much of the hard work in the early stages placing third in 28:30.47.

Qualifying rounds…

Elsewhere Pre-Championships favourite Luguelin Santos the World's third best ever 400 runner and this year's fastest man knows he cannot afford to underestimate any of his rivals after losing out in his heat to Javon Francis.

Santos who ran a lifetime PB of 44.45 to clinch victory in Hengelo at the end of May appeared to have his heat sewn up after 300m but hadn't reckoned on the challenge he would receive from his Jamaican rival.

The 17-year-old winner showing no signs of being under pressure accelerated down the home straight to lower his PB from 47.16 to a much more respectable 46.31 with Santos definitely looking for a win, finishing in 46.34.

The USA's Arman Hall fifth in the current World rankings produced the fastest qualifying mark of 46.13 but if there is a chink in Santos's armour Kenya's Boniface Mweresa and Aussie Steven Solomon who both clocked 46.16 could also be amongst the pack hoping to exploit it.

But the biggest threat should be World Number 2 Aldrich Bailey of the USA who ran an effortless looking one lap circuit of 46.40 to qualify without breaking any real sweat.

The women's 100m heats saw both the World's two fastest sprinters this year Anthonique Strachan and Dezerea Bryant, move into tomorrow's semi-finals, the latter along with Brazil's Tamiris De Liz posting the fastest time of the preliminaries with marks of 11.56.

Bryant of the USA made a blistering start and pick up but was then almost roped in by Canada's Khamica Bingham who running a season's best of 11.57 lost out narrowly to her into a -2.4m/s wind. Strachan had a terrible start but picked up the pace after 30m to score a clear win in a time of 11.59.

Wojciech Praczyk who threw this year's World discus lead of 64.22m in Bialystok on June 24 unleashed the furthest effort of the qualifications of the Discus Throw with his second attempt of 60.72m.

Behind him the vastly improving Mauricio Ortega with his first effort lifted his PB and Columbian record to 59.84m, the pair being the only two throwers in the 'A' qualifying group to attain the automatic standard for the final of 59.40m.

Canadian Jordan Young in the 'B' qualifier moved into the final by right with a throw of 59.54 while although not achieving the required standard, Russia's Victor Butenko Gerhard De Beer of South Africa, Federick Dacres from Jamaica and Germany's Sebastian Scheffel all ranked immediately behind Praczyk in the global list, still made the cut.

World record holder over 8 metres in qualifying round

World Junior Long Jump record holder Sergey Morgunov the only athlete to jump over eight metres this year not surprisingly led the qualifying round when producing a best effort of 8.01m.

The Russian who cleared a massive 8.35m in Cheboksary three weeks ago will be joined in the final by World Number 2 Qing Lin of China who although not reaching the 7.70m qualifier saw his best effort of 7.64m good enough to progress. However third ranked Kumaraver Prem Kumar crashed out managing a best effort of 7.38m.

In addition to Morgunov Germany's Stephan Hartmann (7.74w), Frenchman Guy-Elphege Annouman (7.73w) and Denmark's Andreas Trajkov (7.72w), progressed by right into tomorrow's final.

The first day of the Decathlon saw the USA's Gunnar Nixon thanks to an excellent High Jump of 2.10m finish up overnight leader with a score of 4164 points. Dutchman Tim Dekker hot on his heels is 10 points behind with the Aussie pair of Cedric Dubler and Jake Stein not far away both having the same score of 4101pts.

David Martin for the IAAF