Cork teenager Reece Ademola was denied a medal at the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia, last night in agonising circumstances, the 19-year-old holding third place until the final round of the men’s long jump before slipping to fifth.
demola opened the competition with a superb effort of 7.83m to smash his Irish U20 record and move third on the Irish senior all-time list, but he was soon overtaken by eventual winner Erwan Konate of France, who jumped 8.08m, and Cuba’s Alejandro A. Parada, who jumped 7.91m.
The Leevale AC athlete held third place until the last of six rounds, at which point Brazil’s Gabriel Luiz Boza and USA’s Curtis Williams edged past him with 7.90m and 7.86m respectively, leaving him just 7cm shy of the medals.
“I wanted a medal but I got the performance I got, an U20 national record again, so you have to take the positive out of the negative,” said Ademola. “I thought I was capable of a lot more, but the body didn’t agree.”
It had been a breakthrough week for Ademola, who stands at six-foot-nine and looks an athlete capable of restoring major respectability to Irish long jumping in the years ahead. “I’m capable of a lot more,” he said. “Performance-wise, I did great, I can’t complain. I don’t know why I’m upset. I’ll give myself a pat on the back and move on and it’s about just grinding for winter now, and to bring it to the seniors.”
Ireland’s best remaining chance at the event is 17-year-old Nick Griggs, who will be up against it in a 3000m field where he is ranked 10th, though he looks capable of significantly outperforming that. Griggs will open his campaign in the heats at 3pm Irish time today.