EUGENE, Ore. – Four months ago, on a site visit to Hayward Field in preparation for the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, IAAF General Secretary Essar Gabriel stood at the Powell Plaza entrance to the storied facility and delivered an emphatic message:
“TrackTown, here we come.”On Sunday, at the conclusion of the historic meet, which was held on U.S. soil for the first time, Gabriel had plenty of kind words for the citizens of TrackTown, who not only demonstrated their passion for the sport, but more important, their friendly and generous nature as they welcomed their visitors from afar with open arms.
“The promise is delivered,” Gabriel told Register-Guard sports columnist Austin Meek.
The six-day meet attracted 51,532 fans, and saw two world junior records, seven championship meet records, 21 world-leading junior marks, and 84 national junior records.
Team USA led the medal count with 21 – 11 gold, five silver and five bronze – tying its best overall performance since the 2002 IAAF World Junior Championships in Jamaica.
There was no shortage of highlights on the final day of the meet.
- In the best women’s 100-meter hurdle final ever staged at these championships, Team USA’s Kendell Williams earned the gold medal with a meet record time of 12.89 seconds, barely edging teammate Dior Hall, who established a U.S. high school record of 12.92, taking down a mark that had stood for 35 years.
- Great Britain’s Morgan Lake became the lone World Junior participant to win two individual gold medals with a clearance of 6 feet, 4 inches in the high jump. The 17-year-old Lake also won the heptathlon.
- Sixteen-year-old Lazaro Martinez of Cuba wowed the crowd with his winning effort of 56-2 1/2 in the triple jump, nearly two feet better than his closest competitor. It was Cuba’s fifth gold medal in the triple jump in the 15-year history of the meet.
- Camas High School (Wash.) senior-to-be Alexa Efraimson pushed hard from the start in the women’s 1,500 meters, but eventually faded to sixth, while Stanford-bound teammate Elise Cranny closed well to take fourth. The race was won by Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum in 4:09.86.
- Kenya’s 1-2 punch of Alfred Kipketer and Joshua Masikonde overwhelmed the men’s 800-meter field. After a blistering opening lap of 49 seconds, Kipketer pulled away for a dominant win, 1:43.95 to 1:45.14.
- Team USA swept the gold medals in the meet-concluding 4×400-meter relays. The women’s team of Shamier Little, Olivia Baker, Shakimba Wimbley and Kendall Baisden won in 3:30.42, while the men’s squad of Josephus Lyles, Tyler Brown, Ricky Morgan and Michael Cherry hit the tape in 3:03.31.