DOHA (Reuters) - Tajay Gayle became the first Jamaican man to ever win a world title in a field event, upsetting favourite Juan Miguel Echevarria of Cuba to grab gold in the long jump at the world athletics championships on Saturday with the biggest leap of the season.
The 23-year-old sped down the runway at high speed, leaping into the air to claim a distance of 8.69 metres on his fourth attempt, recording a personal best and beating his Cuban rival’s 8.65m season best.
Jeff Henderson of the United States, the 2016 Olympic champion, finished second with a jump of 8.39m, his longest effort of the year.
Henderson said he was focused on defending his Olympic title at next year’s Summer Games in Tokyo and that he saw the worlds as a stepping stone.
“This was a good test to get ready for next year,” he said. “We gave everybody a good show.”
Echevarria made a slow start and could not replicate his best form of 2019, taking bronze with a jump of 8.34m on his third attempt.
“I know I could have been better, but I’m happy I made it to the podium at an international competition,” the 21-year-old said.
South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga, the defending world champion, finished fourth with 8.28m.
Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, editing by Ed Osmond and Bill Berkrot