Lille, France17year-old Fedrick Dacres wrote his little piece of history in today’s Boys’ Discus Throw final at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France as he became not only the first Jamaican to win a World Youth gold medal in a throwing event, he is the only Jamaican thrower ever to grab a gold medal in any category of age.
An overwhelming favourite coming into these championships following his 66.42m World leading performance set in Kingston in early June, Dacres lived up to the challenge as all five of his valid throws today reached beyond the 62 metres line, a mark no-one else in today’s final was able to even approach.
In the lead since his very first throw of 63.67m and never seriously challenged it would eventually be just a matter of whether Dacres would improve on his World leading performance and as it turned out, the Jamaican would save his best for last. Exuding confidence and having already secured the highest prize throwing last, the Jamaican teenager unleashed a superb 67.05m personal best and World leading performance.
"It's so great, I'm so happy," said an ecstatic winner. "I haven't got words to describe my emotion. I'm sure it's a great experience for the future. This victory is for my mum and my team," added Dacres who lost his father last year two days before he went on to win the Carifta Games Trials.
A surprising silver medal came from US champion Ethan Cochran who improved on his personal best by over 3 metres in tonight’s final with his third round effort 61.37m which placed him securely in second position halfway through the competition. Cochran had to overcome a serious scare in the morning’s round as he scored two no-throws and only qualified with a 57.13m mark.
But the evening session was a different affair and the American a much better competitor with two of his throws landing over the 60 metres line.
Colombia’s Mauricio Ortega also improved on his personal best by almost 3 metres today but unfortunately for the South American his best of today, 61.78, came in the morning’s qualification round. Tonight, Ortega was unable to reach the same standard – which would have secured him a silver medal – and although he did break the 60 metres line he would have to be content with a best second round effort of 60.28m.
To add to the disappointment Ortega who was in bronze medal position until the fifth round saw South Africa’s Gerhard de Beer improve to a 60.63m personal best to clinch the final spot on the podium.
There was major disappointment for the other South African in the final, pre-event medal candidate Jan-Louw Kotze, an automatic qualifier in the morning round and a 64 metre plus thrower this year whose best effort in tonight’s final was a below par 59.48m in fifth.
Hailing from Jones Town, an inner-city area in Kingston, Dacres is coached by Julian Robinson who also led Traves Smikle to the World Youth Discus Throw bronze medal 2 years ago in Bressanone.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF