The World Juniors draw to a close with three championship records on the final night
Championship records were broken in three of the four individual track finals on the last day of action at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona. Such was the quality, the winning times in all three of those events were faster than the winning times at last year’s senior World Championships!
Having already won a total of five medals – two of them gold – in the previous five days, Britain did not add to their tally but Jessica Judd came close in the 1500m.
Judd had already won silver in the 800m, but in her fifth race of the championships she was up against an extremely tough field – one that included the fastest Kenyan junior in history over 1500m, Faith Kipyegon.
The 18-year-old won by more than two and a half seconds with a championship record of 4:04.96, just one second outside the PB she set earlier this year. In a race full of PBs, Serbia’s Amela Terzic took silver in 4:07.59 with Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi finishing third in 4:08.28.
Judd was also inside 4:10 in fifth place with a time of 4:09.93. It smashed her PB by almost five seconds, and also broke the UK age-17 best set by Zola Budd in 1984 – more than 10 years before Judd was born. Team-mate Jenny Walsh was also in PB form, finishing eigth with a lifetime best of 4:12.96.
It was the second gold of the day – and the fourth of the championships – for Kenya as just 15 minutes earlier Conseslus Kipruto smashed the championship record by eight seconds to win the 3000m steeplechase in stunning fashion. Having led from the outset, he won by the length of the homestraight from team-mate Gilbert Kirui (8:19.94), who was 10 seconds ahead of bronze medallist Hicham Sigueni of Morocco. Britain’s Zak Seddon was a solid ninth in 8:45.18.
The championship record in the men’s 800m had stood for 20 years, but Botswana’s Nijel Amos improved it by one second to win in 1:43.79. Earlier this year the 18-year-old ran a PB of 1:43.11, the second-fastest time ever by a junior – but he was up against fellow sub-1:44 man Timothy Kitum, the world youth bronze medallist. The young Kenyan finished second to Amos in 1:44.56, while his team-mate Edwin Melly was third with a 1:44.79 PB.
One day after leading off the US 4x100m team to gold, Morgan Snow returned to action in her specialist event, the 100m hurdles, to win another title. Running into a -2.4m/s headwind, Snow won in 13.38 from Switzerland’s Noemi Zbaren (13.42) and Russia’s Yekaterina Bleskina (13.43).
In the field events, discus favourite Anna Ruh was put under pressure by German team-mate Shanice Craft, the winner of the shot, and USA’s Shelbi Vaughan. Craft and Vaughan exchanged the lead several times in the first four rounds as Ruh struggled to hit her top form. But she finally found it with her last throw and moved from third to first with a 62.38m effort. With Craft taking silver (60.42m) and Vaughan bronze (60.07m), it was the first time ever at the World Juniors that all three discus medallists broke 60 metres. Only former Olympic champion Ilke Wyludda has ever thrown farther than Ruh in a World Junior final.
In the jumps, 2009 world youth champion Alessia Trost took high jump gold with 1.91m, while Cuba’s Pedro Pichardo maintained his country’s rich tradition in triple jumping by winning gold with 16.79m.
After taking both sprint relay golds the night before, USA fittingly won both 4x400m finals. The women’s team – anchored by individual 400m champion Ashlee Spender – won by three seconds in 3:30.01, as the men’s team struck gold in 3:03.99. It was the fourth time that the USA had swept all four relays at the World Juniors, having also achieved the feat in 2004, 2008 and 2010.