Vashti Cunningham at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 (© Getty Images)
Vashti Cunningham became the youngest ever women’s winner at the World Indoor Championships, the American's first-time clearance at 1.96m being decisive.
Eight women attempted 1.96m and four went clear but only the 18-year-old Cunningham – jumping last of the 11 women in the straight final – much to the delight of the local crowd, went over at the first time of asking, just as the Las Vegas school girl had done at her three previous heights: 1.84m, 1.89m and 1.93m.
She was soon joined by Poland’s defending champion Kamila Lickwinko and Spain’s two-time European champion Ruth Beitia, who went over on their second attempts while Lithuania’s Airine Palsyte needed all three of her attempts to progress.
However, when the bar went up to 1.99m none of the four women could go any higher.
At the other end of the age spectrum from the prodigious 2016 champion, Beitia – aged 36 and more than twice Cunningham’s age – took the silver medal by virtue of not having any failures prior to 1.96m and became the oldest ever medallist in this event.
The 2014 joint-winner Licwinko had to settle for third this time after failures at both 1.84m and and 1.93m proved to be costly while Palsyte finished out of the medals in fourth.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF