IT’S A FIRST: Ineta Radvica celebrates winning bronze in the long jump.
RIGA - Latvia’s Ineta Radvica has created history in Daegu, South Korea, winning bronze in the women’s long jump at the 13th edition of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) World Championships.
In doing so, the 30-year-old European Champion has claimed the first ever medal for Latvia at the biannual IAAF World Championships. Dainis Kula is the only other Latvian to win a medal at an IAAF World Championship, claiming bronze in the men’s javelin at the inaugural championships in Helsinki in 1983. However, his medal will forever be recorded in the history annals as being won by the Soviet Union. In comparison, Estonia to date has claimed seven medals and Lithuania five.
During qualifying on Saturday, Radevica snuck under the radar, doing enough to qualify, and little else, with her best jump of 6.59 meters good enough to see her move through to Sunday’s final in ninth position with just 12 places in the final up for grabs.
Radevica’s compatriot, Lauma Griva, would not join her in Sunday’s final, with the young Latvian’s best jump of 6.27 meters not good enough to see her get past the qualifying round.
In Sunday’s final Brittney Reese of the United States set the mark early, jumping 6.82 meters on her first jump. It would surprisingly prove to be a mark that would stay for the remainder of the competition, with no other athlete coming close to challenging the American over their six jumps.
Instead, Radevica was left to fight it out for second and third spots on the podium with Russia’s Olga Kucherenko and Belarusia’s Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova.
Mironchyk-Ivanova looked to have sealed second position with her third round jump of 6.74 meters. But she would be pushed back to third in the fourth round when Kucherenko recorded a jump of 6.77 meters. Radevica, meanwhile, looked to be well short of a podium place, with her second jump of 6.66 meters her best going into her sixth and final jump.
However, it was a case of saving the best for last for Radevica, blowing Mironchyk-Ivanova out of third position, as she leapt to a season best of 6.76 meters. If there was one disappointment for Radevica, it was how close she came to claiming silver, finishing a mere centimeter behind Kucherenko.
The third place in Daeku is unquestionably the finest of Radevica’s achievements, which also include winning the European Championships in Barcelona in 2010, with a personal best jump of 6.92 meters, and a bronze in both the long jump and triple jump at the European U23 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland in 2003.
The third place also puts Radevica right amongst medal contention at the Olympics in London next year. Radevica missed the previous Olympics in Beijing due to being pregnant with her first son.