Allyson Felix (right)Allyson Felix and Alina Popescu take the first gold medals in Debrecen
13 July 2001 – 11.57 seconds were what it took for Allyson Felix of the USA to become the first gold medallist of the IAAF/Westel World Youth Championships in Athletics. While across the field, Alina Popescu was winning gold for Romania in the women's triple jump.

Quick out of the blocks, Felix pulled away ahead of the rest of the field around the 70 metre mark as her compatriot Tissilli Rogers fell to the ground with a thigh injury. The fastest finisher in the semis, Felix edged ahead of Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart at the finish to cross the line first. Stewart clocked 11.72 for silver, with the bronze medal going to Zuzana Kosova of the Czech Republic in a personal best of 11.83. Kosova won the photo from the 4th place finisher Simone Facey of Jamaica, who was given the same time.

Felix said that she was nervous before the race: "I was a little scared of the Jamaicans and they did indeed make it hard for me. I only missed my personal best by four one hundredths of a second and I knew that this time would be needed for a win. I am glad to be a sprinter, all my efforts have paid off already."

Kerron StewartStewart was graceful in defeat: "I wanted to win, but I am not too disappointed with the silver medal. The American girl deserved to win!"

Meanwhile, across the infield, Alina Popescu clinched victory in the women's triple jump with a personal record of 13.76 at her third attempt, though her first effort of 13.67 would have been enough to give the Romanian gold in front of silver medallist Svetlana Bolshakova (RUS) with 13.32 (5th attempt) and the 13.22 metres of Michelle Sanford of the USA, who took the bronze.

Popescu was overwhelmed after her success: "I still can not believe that I really won. I jumped a huge personal best, without which I could not have won. The competition was fierce until the very end, even in the last rounds there were changes in the standings so I could not ease up, but I was confident that I could overcome my rivals.

"I am only 15 years old but I am the first gold medallist of the World Championships. This is an unbelievable feeling. I hope that I will be able to produce similar results in even bigger meets in the future."

In the men's 100 metres the hot favourite, Trinidad's Darrel Brown, fulfilled all the expectations powering down the track to edge the USA's Willie Hordge at the finish and set a new Championship record of 10.31. Hordge was timed at 10.41 ahead of his compatriot Jonathan Wade, who took bronze with 10.53.


The opinions and content of this article are those of the author and are not attributable to the IAAF, nor do they reflect or represent any official position of the International Association of Athletics Federations.

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