Taylor takes triple jump gold at World Youth Championships

07-14-2007

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Glen McMicken
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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic - On the first warm day of the meet Saturday, conditions were tailor-made for Team USA's Christian Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.), as he shattered his previous personal best and won the triple jump with a final-attempt leap of 15.98 meters/52-5.25 on the fourth day of the 5th IAAF World Youth Championships.

Taylor, the long jump bronze medalist whose best coming into the meet was 15.22m/49-11.25, had a hip problem and was behind the board on his first three attempts, but managed to improve on each try. His fourth-round effort of 15.64m/51-3.75 put him into the lead for good, and with the gold assured he uncorked a massive final attempt to record the best jump by a youth in the world this year. Bryce Lamb (Chandler, Ariz.) was eighth at 14.99m/49-2.25.

"I just tried to kill it on my last jump," Taylor said. "This was for my coaches at the Quicksilver Track Club in Atlanta. I love hot weather, and this felt like I was jumping at home. Having my family here was a big motivation, and it is great to be world champion and win another medal."

Becky O'Brien (Cumberland, Maine), an eighth-placer in the discus earlier this week, had a big personal best of 14.94m/49-0.25 but missed out on a bronze medal in the shot put, placing fourth on the countback as Germany's Sophie Kleeberg had a second-best toss of 14.86m to 14.79m for O'Brien.

O'Brien said, "I wanted so badly to medal. I threw over my old PR twice and this was by far the best day of my career. I am a competitor, and the bigger the meet, the better I seem to do. I can't wait to go after a medal at the World Juniors next year."

In the boys' discus, Cameron Tabor (Norman, Okla.) finished fifth with a lifetime best of 59.07m/193-9. Ukrainian giant and world youth record holder Mykyta Nesterenko, who is 6-8 at age 16, won easily at 68.54/224-10.

"The smaller discus (1.5 kg) felt different to me," Tabor said. "I felt like I was using way too much upper-body. I haven't had as much practice with this size implement as I would have liked. I do know that I will never be as nervous again in competition. I am just glad to do better than in the shot put."

The U.S. had the top two qualifiers in the boys' 400 hurdles, with William Wynne (Kennesaw, Ga.) returning to form to clock a world youth-leading 50.28 in the first semifinal. Reggie Wyatt (Riverside, Calif.) almost matched that with a 50.48 winner in the second semi.

All three Team USA runners in the 200 advanced to the final, with Ashton Purvis (Oakland, Calif.) putting up the best time in the girls' furlong at 23.66. Chalonda Goodman (Newnan, Ga.) was second in her semifinal at 23.86, and in the boys' race, Kenneth Gilstrap (Lithonia, Ga.) set a personal best of 21.46 to place third in his section and claim one of the time qualifier spots.

The older Purvis sister, Julian, had the second-best time in the semis of the girls' 100 hurdles, zipping to a winning 13.49 to make the final. Jasmin Stowers (Liberty, S.C.) was second in her semi at 13.52 to also qualify for the final.

After leading for the first 600 meters, Chanelle Price (Easton, Pa.) yielded to Kenya's Winny Chebet down the home stretch, but still had the second-fastest qualifying time in the girls' 800 semis at 2:04.34.

Come-from-behind anchor legs were the order of the day in both medley relays, with Dalilah Muhammad (Jamaica, N.Y.) passing Australia in the first 200 of her 400 carry to give the girls' squad a 2:08.38 win, the second-fastest time of the day behind Jamaica's 2:08.04. Ashton Purvis ran the 100 leg, followed by Erica Alexander (Friendswood, Texas) on the 200 and Kiani Profit (Pasadena, Calif.) on the 300.

Howard Shepard (Dallas, Texas) turned in a 47.6 in the boys' competition to move past Jamaica with 150 to go and pace Team USA to a 1:51.94 victory, the fastest time of the day. Isaiah Sweeney (Houston, Texas) ran the lead leg, handing off to Gilstrap on the 200, and then Wyatt on the 300.

The final day of competition kicks off Sunday at 4 p.m. with the boys' pole vault, and running events start at 4:30 with the boys' 400 hurdles final. For more information on Team USA at the World Youth Championships, including links to full results, visit http://www.usatf.org/events/2007/IAAFWorldYouthChampionships/.