World Athletics Championships: China’s Wang Jianan snatches long jump gold with final leap
- Wang produces dramatic last-round leap of 8.36 metres on Saturday to win China’s first gold medal in Oregon
- The 25-year-old had managed a best of only 8.03m in his first five attempts and was out of the medals, but soared to the front on his final jump
Wang Jianan produced a last-round leap of 8.36 metres to snatch China’s first ever long jump gold at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene after Tentoglou Miltiadis of Greece looked to be cruising to victory.
The 25-year-old Wang had produced a best of only 8.03m in his first five attempts and was out of the medal contention. But Wang was waiting patiently for his time to shine.
Miltiadis was on course to complete the full house of major titles after previously winning the Olympics, the indoor world title and the European indoor and outdoor titles.
His fifth-round jump of 8.32m looked to be good enough for gold and his second, third and fourth-best leaps of 8.30m, 8.29m and 8.24m were all better than anyone else in the field could manage until Wang’s intervention.
Instead he had to settle for silver, with Switzerland’s Simon Ehammer, who came to Eugene with a world lead 8.45m to his name after temporarily switching from decathlon, taking bronze with 8.16m.
“I came to Eugene with the biggest aim of making the podium here,” Wang said. “That is why I was a little bit disappointed after five rounds, having a best result of 8.03m.
“Seeing my final result on the screen, I couldn’t believe that it was possible. Then I recognised that my gold in Eugene is the greatest achievement ever for a Chinese long jumper at the World Championships.
“These thoughts made me really very proud. It looks like Eugene isn’t only a lucky town for me, but something like a second home.”
A second senior global medal after his world bronze on home soil in Beijing in 2015, Wang adds this performance to a CV that also includes fifth place at the Rio Olympics in 2016, plus sixth at the 2019 World Championships.
Wang said the result was of cooperation with his coaches Randy Huntington and Wang Guojie.
“We have a clearer goal since Tokyo 2020,” he said. “I’ve told myself to work hard and enjoy the process.”
A former decathlete, Wang scored 7063 points in the senior 10-event discipline at the age of 15 before switching his focus to the long jump.
Before the Oregon World Championships, he had competed just once outdoors this year, jumping 7.67m at the Stars and Stripes Classic in Marietta at the start of July.
His long jump focus in Oregon paid off, gaining him a second senior global medal to go with the world indoor heptathlon silver he claimed in Belgrade in March.
Jamaica’s injury-hit defending champion Tajay Gayle failed to make the final after posting three fouls in Friday’s qualifying.
In the men’s 100m final, American hosts swept the podium as Tokyo Olympics runner-up Fred Kerley seized the title of the blue ribbon event in 9.86 seconds, ahead of Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell.
Chinese star sprinter Su Bingtian did not make the final after the Olympic relay bronze medallist finished eighth in his semi-final group.
Su, who set an Asian record of 9.83 seconds at last year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, was unable to repeat the magic performance due to a knee injury.
“I have not maintained good form this season,” the 32-year-old said.
“This is my first race this season. After coming to the United States in late June, I have not felt well and suffered a minor injury to my knee during a training session in Jacksonville, Florida.”