Athletics: Achike in jump to gold

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The Independent Online
ONOCHIE ACHIKE gave Britain their only individual gold medal of the World Junior Championships when he leapt to the triple jump title here last night. But the sprinters put another dent in the pride of the Americans, already bruised by Linford Christie, when they won the 4 x 100 metres relay.

The victory of Achike, a 19-year- old student from London, was a surprise because he had been suffering from a heel injury. His first- round effort of 16.53m gave him the lead until Ronald Servius, of France, snatched it from him in the fourth with a jump of 16.55m.

Achike, who missed the third round because of a sore shin, responded by jumping 16.67m. It was the furthest of his career and would have been a UK junior record but for a wind reading that was marginally over the legal limit.

Leonard Cobb, of the United States, came within two centimetres of Achike two jumps later but the Briton held on.

'Boy, was I scared when the American jumped. I'm amazed because I haven't jumped that well all year,' Achike said. 'The difference between this year and last, when I finished third in the European Junior Championships, was that I went there looking at the rankings and didn't concentrate.'

History repeated itself because in Seoul two years ago it had been the high jumper, Steve Smith, and the sprint relay team who had won Britain's first gold medals on the last day. The relay squad of Jason Gardener, Julian Golding, Ian Mackie and Trevor Cameron had been training together since January for this event. It was Cameron, holding off America's Toya Jones, who anchored the team home in 39.60sec.

He was the only one of the quartet not to have competed in the individual sprints. 'I've been hungry for that all week,' Cameron said.

The women's 4 x 100m and the men's 4 x 400m relay teams completed an excellent night for British athletics when they each won bronze medals. Britain's final total of eight medals was their best since 1986.

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