Harry Coppell hits new heights with golden performance in Donetsk

Harry Coppell became the first ever British male to claim a gold medal in the pole vault at a global championships on Sunday as he soared to a personal best clearance of 5.25m for victory at the IAAF World Youth Championships.

The pole vault competition had kicked off the final day of action in Donetsk, with 17-year-old Coppell entering the competition at 4.90m, a height he cleared on the first attempt. He then had a further first-time clearance at 5.00m but needed all three tries to clear 5.10m.

At that point it was between Coppell, China’s Huang Bokai and Israel’s Lev Skorish until Skorish failed at 5.15m, a height the Brit cleared on his second jump while it took Huang three tries to get over. As the bar moved up to 5.20m and then 5.25m it was Coppell who was supreme, clearing the final height, a personal best by five centimetres, on the last attempt as Huang settled for silver. Coppell’s team-mate Adam Hague finished sixth with a best clearance of 4.90m in a competition that saw the top five placed athletes claim PBs.

“It couldn’t have gone any better really – I hurt my hand attempting my last few jumps, but I’m really happy,” Coppell told British Athletics.

“My aim is to get to the World Juniors next year and go there for the experience as I’ll be one of the youngest,” added Coppell, who was presented with his medal by world record holder Sergey Bubka.

Another highlight out on the field came courtesy of Romania’s Florentina Marincu who became the only athlete of the championships to do the double with victory in two individual events. Having claimed the triple jump title on Friday, she unleashed a third-round leap of 6.42m to also be crowned long jump champion, finishing ahead of Keturah Orji, who added long jump silver to her triple jump bronze thanks to a final round personal best leap of 6.39m.

Jamaica ended the championships at the top of the medal table thanks to their haul of six golds and two bronzes. Adding to the tally on the final day of competition was Michael O’Hara who made up for disappointment of finishing outside the medals in the 100m with victory over double the distance. He did it in style too, clocking a 20.63 personal best to record a time that is the third-fastest ever by a Jamaican youth. A personal best of 20.84 for Britain’s Thomas Somers saw him finish just outside the medals but with a time that boosts him to No.4 on the British youth all-time list as well as second in the under-17 all-time list behind Jamahl Alert-Khan.

O’Hara was back in action in the boys’ medley relay where another gold was claimed for Jamaica – O’Hara running the second leg as 400m champion Martin Manley ran the baton home in a world youth record of 1:49.28. USA secured silver thanks to their 1:50.14 clocking as their female counterparts took gold in the girls’ medley relay with 2:05.15. Other sprint action saw Sweden’s Irene Ekelund set a championship record in winning the girls’ 200m in 22.92 as GB’s Shannon Hylton finished sixth with a 23.64 clocking.

Another championship record was broken in the girls’ 800m as Iceland’s Anita Hinriksdottir took victory in 2:01.13 in a race that saw GB’s Chelsea Jarvis record 2:07.01 for fifth, while Kenya’s Robert Biwott won the boys’ 1500m in a 3:36.77 championship record and his team-mate Rosefline Chepngetich won the girls’ 2000m steeplechase in 6:14.60. Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha won the boys’ 3000m in a 7:53.56 personal best as Slovenia’s Matija Muhar claimed gold in the javelin with a personal best throw of 78.84m.

Harry Coppell
Harry Coppell


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