Athletics: Juan Miguel Echevarria jumps a massive 8.66m to beat World champion in Ostrava

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Juan Miguel Echevarria attempts for the Long Jump World record fell short

Battling unseasonably chilly conditions, Juan Miguel Echevarria followed up on his breakthrough performance in Stockholm with a command performance at the 57th edition of the Golden Spike, an IAAF World Challenge Meeting, in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Wednesday (13).

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The 19-year-old emerged as one of the meeting’s primary attractions after his wind-assisted 8.83m leap in the Swedish capital, and he lived up admirably to the expectations heaped upon him over the ensuing three days.

He immediately dispensed with the 8.35m meeting record set by Cuban great Ivan Pedroso almost 20 years ago to the day, opening the competition with an 8.40m (-1.0 m/s) leap. He improved to 8.54m (+0.3) in the second round and to 8.66m (+1.0) in the third, a leap landing him equal tenth among jumpers all-time.

He passed on this fourth jump, hit 8.54m again in round five before ending the night, and the meeting, with a dazzlingly long foul. The crowd cheered, and he bowed, a post-meet ritual we may be getting used to.

“All my attempts were very consistent and seeing all the people cheering for us made me really happy, their support and interest in the long jump is great,” said the young Cuban, whose previous lifetime wind-legal best was 8.53m set late last month in Rome. What’s next?

“Being the world leader is strange to me because I’m still so young. I think I have a lot more ahead of me. People are already asking about breaking the world record. I can’t say if that can happen this year or in the coming ones, but I believe it is possible though.”

World champion Luvo Manyonga was second at 8.31m and his South African compatriot Ruswahl Samaai third with 8.15m.




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