Adam Gemili runs national junior record of 10.05 to take 100m gold at the IAAF World Junior Championships
With a marginally stronger tailwind, Adam Gemili would have tonight become the first teenager in history to legally break 10 seconds for the 100m. But his 10.05, barely helped by a 0.1m/s tailwind, was more than enough for gold at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona.
Last month Gemili booked his spot on the British team for the London Games – and in doing so, will be the youngest member of the track and field team to compete in the capital – but all along he maintained that the World Junior Championships, not the Olympics, were his main goal for the season.
Tonight in Barcelona – competing in the same stadium where Linford Christie struck Olympic gold 20 years prior – Gemili more than achieved his target for the year, cruising to a 10.05 victory in the 100m and winning by 0.12. The only athletes to have won by a bigger margin at the World Juniors are two of the former British winners – Mark Lewis-Francis (0.26) and Christian Malcolm (0.22).
Earlier in the evening Gemili won his semi-final in 10.18, but American pair Aaron Ernest and Tyreek Hill both looked good in winning their semis, while Jamaican duo Odean Skeen and Jazeel Murphy also cruised into the final.
But ultimately, Gemili was a class apart as Ernest finished a distant second in a 10.17 PB with Skeen taking bronze (10.28). Gemili’s team-mate Chijindu Ujah, the team captain for the week, set a PB of 10.39 in sixth.
Gemili’s 10.05 clocking breaks the 10.08 European age-18 best he set earlier in the year. It is also a British junior record, breaking the 10.06 set 15 years ago by Dwain Chambers, and it’s just 0.01 outside Christophe Lemaitre’s European junior record.
“I just told myself to stay relaxed and stay focused,” said Gemili. “I’m not going to lie, I was nervous before the race: it’s a World Junior final, it’s in this stadium in Barcelona, how can you not be nervous? But you need to use your nerves in a good way, try to use them to help you run and I did it.
“This is a massive stepping stone for the Olympics,” he added. “If I had only made the final, it would have been a great achievement, to win makes it huge.”
When asked about the possibility of breaking 10 seconds this year, Gemili replied: “I honestly do not know. I am feeling good and I am running well, I just feel there is a whole lot more to come.”
Less than an hour before the men’s 100m final, it was the turn of the women in the short sprint. Pre-race favourite Anthonique Strachan lived up to expectations and took gold for the Bahamas with a PB of 11.20 – the fastest time in the world this year by a junior. Turkey’s Nimet Karakus finished second (11.36) with Tamiris de Liz of Brazil in third (11.45). Britain’s Sophie Papps finished a respectable sixth in 11.54.
The men’s shot proved to be the greatest ever final in the history of junior athletics. During the morning session defending champion Jacko Gill broke the 10-year-old championship record with 21.50m. He smashed it again with his first throw in the final, launching the shot out to 21.74m. But Poland’s Krzysztof Brzozowski – the only athlete within the age group to ever defeat Gill, having beaten him at the 2010 Youth Olympics – went one better in round two with 21.78m.
Not to be outdone, Gill responded with 22.19m to once again smash the championship record. The remainder of his throws were all better than Brzozowski’s best and his fifth effort of 22.20m increased his lead by one centimetre, with the championship record being rewritten for the fifth time within one day.
It was not the only exciting throwing final of the day. With a final-round effort of 61.40m, Sweden’s Sofi Flink jumped from third place to the gold-medal position in the women’s javelin. Not only is her mark a European age-17 best, it’s a national senior record for Sweden – despite Flink still being a youth athlete. She finished comfortably ahead of China’s Shiying Liu (59.20m) and Serbia’s Marija Vucenovic (57.12m).
Russia’s Sergey Morgunov – who shared the world-leading mark in the long jump with Greg Rutherford at 8.35m – was in a different league in tonight’s final. His first-round leap of 8.09m was easily enough to win the competition – and it’s a good job too, as he followed it with four fouls before ending his series with 7.93m.
With a last-round leap of 7.82m, Andreas Trajkovski moved from fourth into the medals to take silver with a Danish junior record. USA’s Jarrion Lawson took bronze with 7.64m, while Britain’s Elliot Safo finished sixth with 7.51m, being forced to withdraw half-way through with injury.
Perhaps inspired by the recent world record of countryman Ashton Eaton, USA’s Gunnar Nixon struck gold in the men’s decathlon after a stunning run in the 1500m that saw him overtake leader Jake Stein of Australia, the world youth champion. Nixon’s score of 8018 is also an American junior record, while Stein set an Oceanian junior record of 7951 in second – more than 100 points ahead of bronze medallist Tim Dekker of the Netherlands (7815).
Last night Kenya struck gold in the women’s 3000m, but Ethiopia gained their revenge in the women’s 5000m final tonight as Buze Diriba led an Ethiopian 1-2 in an extremely close finish, crossing the line in 15:32.94 – just 0.01 ahead of team-mate Ruti Aga. Kenya’s Agnes Tirop took bronze in 15:36.74.
The only other final of the day was held during the morning session, where Russia won their third successive world junior title in the women’s 10,000m walk. Yekaterina Medvedeva (45:41.74) led a Russian 1-2 from Nadezhda Leontyeva (45:43.64) with Colombia’s Sandra Arenas finishing a close third (45:44.46).
800m hope Jessica Judd booked her place in tomorrow’s final after front-running her way to a 2:02.30 win in today’s semis. Team-mate Emily Dudgeon adopted similar tactics to win her semi with a big PB of 2:02.32.
Sprint hurdler James Gladman qualified comfortably for the 110m hurdles final with a 13.37 clocking, although Cuba’s Yordan O’Farrill (13.28) and France’s Wilhem Belocian (13.30) will be tough to beat.