20th July 2010

World Juniors Day One

19 July 2010

World School Games champion Emelia Gorecka (coach: Mick Woods), only marginally outside her lifetime best with 9:18.43, finished 11th for the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team in the women’s 3000m this evening, the opening event of the 13th IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada (19-25 July).

The race, in which there were 13 personal bests including four National Records, was won by Kenya’s Mercy Cherono, the 2010 World Junior Cross Country Champion.

“I’m definitely in better shape than that, but it was a really physical race and I’m not used to that so I took a lot from it and I did well to hang on like I did,” said Gorecka, the youngest athlete in the field. “I was on the outside for quite a lot of it but I took everything on board; I’m just not used to the physical side of things. The time was pretty irrelevant and to come so close to my PB is something.”

The Aldershot, Farnham and District athlete settled well in the middle of the pack as the leaders went through the opening 400m in 72.06. As they passed through 800m in 2.31 there was nothing to split the group which included defending champion Cherono and Ethiopia’s Emebet Anteneh, who had defeated her over 5000m earlier this summer.

Following a 3:08.81 clocking at 1km by leader Purity Rionoripo (Kenya), the 2009 World Youth champion and eventual fourth place finisher, the pace started to pick up. By 2km (6:02.88), by which point Cherono had started to pull clear after a decisive break at 1600m, there were only six in the mix with Goercka leading the main chasing group.

As the leaders hit the bell there were five in contention, but it was Cherono who eventually took the victory in a thrilling sprint finish and world leading time of 8:55.07, well outside Zola Budd’s World Junior Record of 8:28.83 and 11 seconds outside her PB, but a second successive World Junior track title nonetheless, and a second global title in 2010.

“It feels so good – I was so happy to defend my gold,” said the Kenyan who finished ahead of Anteneh in second (8:55.24) and Azerbaijan’s Layes Abdullayeva in third (8:55.33). “The best part was that I felt so comfortable out there. My plan was to defend my gold but the race was difficult because of the weather and I expected to have more of a lead at the end of the race.”

“That was hard, I’ve moved up to such a high level, but it was great to get the experience,” concluded Gorecka who has vowed to come back for a medal in 2011. “It’s hard to maintain a steady pace in a Championships race because it’s about winning, not getting times, but I managed to get a lot of experience and I almost equalled my PB which is good enough for now.”

Day two’s programme kicks off at 09.00 (13.00 UK time) with men’s team captain Ashley Bryant (coach: Ian Grant) and world leader David Guest (coach: Michael Guest) the first members of the Aviva GB and NI team in action at 09.35 (13.35 UK time) in the Decathlon 100m.