Yuki Hashioka in the long jump at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 (© Roger Sedres)
On what was a memorable night for Japan, Yuki Hashioka upset the odds to claim gold in the men’s long jump, the 19-year-old producing a stunning 8.03m leap in the third round which saw him through to the top step of the podium.
Hashioka was always likely to be a threat to Cuba’s Maikel Vidal, the world U20 leader, and that proved well-founded when he secured Japan their first ever long jump title in the 32-year history of these championships.
Hashioka started the competition as he meant to go on, sweeping to the lead in the first round with an impressive leap of 7.91m.
Oh what a day for Japan!— IAAF (@iaaforg) July 11, 2018
WATCH - The third round and winning jump by Yuki Hashioka was an impressive 8.03 effort@jaaf_official won 2 gold medal in the space of 20 minutes!#IAAFworlds pic.twitter.com/Yru50DNvhS
Vidal had previously held the lead with 7.87m, and the Cuban duly responded and found a few extra centimetres in the second round, jumping 7.94m. In the third round, Vidal dug deeper again to soar out to 7.99m, but still he struggled to find that magical strike he needed to grab gold.
Hashioka, meanwhile, was only growing in confidence, and in the third round he set the bar at an intimidating height for others to reach, sailing through the evening air to a mark of 8.03m (0.9m/s).
His two subsequent efforts offered no improvement, but none of his competitors could close the gap either, allowing Hashioka to enjoy a victory jump in the final round.
“I'm very happy to have won, this was really important for me,” said Hashioka, who soon turned his focus to the next step of his flourishing career.
“I feel like I'm not yet at the level to compete with seniors but today's victory is a great step towards that. It still doesn't feel real. My next goal is to win the Asian Games.”
Vidal claimed second with his best of 7.99m, though he obviously wanted more.
“The silver medal is okay although everybody wants to win,” he said. “I'm happy with my series of jumps. I jumped my best in the final.”
The bronze went to Jamaica’s Wayne Pinnock, his nation’s first ever long jump medal at the championships.
“The experience has been really good and I am of course really happy,” he said. “A bronze medal is really good. I've been working really hard for this.”
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF