SA champ spears javelin gold in Beijing
John Oosterhuizen carried on South Africa’s javelin tradition at the IAAF World Junior Championships, becoming the third man from his country to get a gold medal in the event in Beijing on Saturday.
Oosterhuizen sent the javelin out to a championship record 83,07m in the second round to kill the competition as a contest.
The 19-year-old from Cape Town improved his personal best by more than 3m to move up to being the third-best under-20 performer to date. “I am happy with the consistency of my other throws, but 83m ... I can’t believe it,” said the delighted Oosterhuizen.
Three other championship records were set on Saturday.
Argentina’s German Chiaraviglio got his country’s first-ever gold in 11 editions of these championships when he cleared 5,71m to win the men’s pole vault.
Guiding Chiaraviglio, who had one good attempt among his three failures at a world junior record of 5,81m, is Vitaliy Petrov, the former coach to pole-vault legend Sergey Bubka.
Bubka was also watching the young Argentinian from the stands of the Chao Yang Sports Centre, clearly highly impressed.
Germany’s Sandra Schaffarzik threw 60,45m to win the women’s javelin, finishing more 3m ahead of her nearest rival. Kenya’s Willy Komen sprinted home to win the men’s 3Â 000m steeplechase in eight minutes, 14 seconds.
Four other gold medals were decided on Saturday.
Russia’s Tatyana Chernova won the heptathlon with a total of 6Â 227 points, the best performance by a junior in the world this year. Chernova had been in front since winning the first event, the 100m hurdles on Friday.
Estonia’s Margus Hunt added the shot-put title to the discus he won on Wednesday with an effort of 20,53m.
Rhonda Watkins became the first women from Trinidad and Tobago to strike gold at this level when she leapt out to 6,46m to win a closely contested women’s long jump.
Kenya’s Veronica Wanjiru added a second gold for her country, winning the women’s 3Â 000 metres in nine minutes, 2,9 seconds, to take the East African country to the top of the medal table with five gold, five silver and three bronze medals. Just behind Kenya are hosts China with five gold, three silver and four bronze medals.
China’s tally was boosted earlier in the day by their athletes winning both the men’s and women’s 10Â 000m walks off the track for the 2008 Olympics, which will be staged in the Chinese capital.
The women’s race was the first to be decided and Liu Hong secured her title by stepping up the pace with exactly 1km to go. Liu crossed the line in a personal best of 45 minutes, 12,84 seconds, winning by more than 21 seconds.
Bo Xiangdong then completed a successful morning for China, racing at the front of the leading pack before breaking away with 1Â 400m to go, eventually stopping the clock at 42 minutes, 50,26 seconds.
His compatriot Zhengyu Huang came through strongly in the later stages, moving from fourth to second on the penultimate lap to make it a Chinese double on the podium, eventually collecting the silver medal with 43:13,29.—Sapa-AFP