Maykel Masso in the long jump at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 (© Getty Images)
Living up admirably to his favourite’s role, Maykel Masso of Cuba won his second consecutive global title in the long jump, adding the world U20 crown to the U18 laurels he won last year in Cali.
Opening with a modest 7.50m leap, the 17-year-old refocused his attention and took command for good with an 8.00m (-1.8m/s) leap in round two, an impressive jump given the fairly strong headwinds the field was forced to deal with throughout the evening.
Choosing to pass on his third attempt, Masso closed out the competition with a 7.80m (-1.1m/s) effort to secure Cuba's second world U20 title in the event. The first? Luis Bueno's victory in Sudbury, Canada, 28 years ago.
“I’m very happy with this result,” said Masso, the world U20 leader coming into Bydgoszcz with 8.28m, a wold U18 best and equal fourth all-time among U20 athletes. “To be the world champion once again is something great. Since I began to prepare for this I was focused on this and wanted to win the gold.”
But Masso's victory was by no means a dominant one.
Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece gave Masso a close scare, reaching 7.91m (-0.4m/s) in round three to edge Australian Darcy Roper by just three centimetres for silver.
“I could have done better, but I am very happy with the result,” said Tentoglou, who reached an 8.19m personal best in May. “To win a medal here is a big success. It was hard jumping into the headwind and that affected the results.”
Roper set his 7.88m (-1.0m/s) best of the night in round two, and came marginally close with his last jump, leaping 7.75m.
Further back, Yasser Triki was fourth with 7.81m, an Algerian U20 record. Masso's teammate Juan Miguel Echevarria was fifth, his best of 7.78m coming in round three.
Disaster struck Yugant Shekhar Singh of India before the field of finalists was even announced. The 18-year-old tripped over the edge of the pit during warm-ups, and broke his arm while trying to protect himself from the fall.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF