The 12th IAAF World Junior Championships held in the city of Bydgoszcz, Poland concluded on a high note in the Zawiska stadium yesterday afternoon as 12,000 spectators attended the sixth and final competition day.
Overall, no fewer than 40 countries entered the medal table with super power USA leading a surprising team of Germany. The USA grabbed a total of 11 gold medals, four silvers and two bronze with Germany, the host of next year’s IAAF World Championships, in second with six gold, one silver and three bronze.
Kenya (4-5-2), Russia (4-3-0) and Ethiopia (2-3-5) followed in the standings to confirm their status as part of the strongest athletics nations with Ukraine, France and Romania the only other nations to win more than one gold medal.
The hosts finished in 13th with one gold courtesy of Robert Szpak in the men’s javelin and Sylwester Bednarek and Pawel Wojciechowski’s silver medals in the men’s high jump and pole vault respectively.
One world junior and 10 championship records set
At individual level, the competition was highlighted by Vira Rebryk’s world junior record in the women’s javelin, the Ukrainian one of many junior athletes who will now be heading towards Beijing to compete at next month’s Olympic Games.
There were also 10 championship records, six area junior records and 74 national junior records set on the brand new track in Bydgoszcz.
Hammer thrower Bianca Perie of Romania, who was one to set a championship record, became the most decorated athlete in age competition as the 18-year-old added a second world junior gold to the two world youth titles already in her resume.
The Bahamas’ Sheniqua Ferguson, who won gold in the women’s 200m and bronze in the 100m, Croatia’s Marin Premeru, bronze in the shot and silver in the discus, and Cuba’s Dailenys Alcantara, the triple jump winner and long jomp bronze medallists, were the most successful athletes in individual events.
The IAAF World Junior Championships will now move to Canada for the 13th edition of the event which will be held in 2010 in Moncton, located in Westmorland County, New Brunswick on the East coast.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF
Final championships figures
Average attendance: 9,000 daily