By David Lim
National 800-meter record holder Amy Weissenbach ’12 finished in fourth place Sunday at the World Youth Championship Final. Weissenbach was the “favourite for the gold medal,” said an International Association of Athletics Federations press release.
Teammate Ajee Wilson from Neptune High School in New Jersey took 1st place adding to the leading American medal tally. In their previous head-to-head race, Wilson beat Weissenbach by a mere thirteen hundredths of a second at the World Youth Track and Field Trials in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Weissenbach’s time of 2:03.59 was more than a second slower than her national record of 2:02.04, which she set at the CIF Championships last month. Her personal record was the fastest among her competitors coming into the race, and still holds as the fastest 17-under 800 time.
The fate of the finals was decided in the last 300 meters when Wilson pulled away from a tight leading pack, clocking in at 2:02.64.
Weissenbach had trouble getting around the other leaders throughout the final lap. Exhausted after pushing forward to second place, she faltered in the last 50 meters and fell across the finish line, just missing a medal finish. Chunyu Wang (2:03.23) of China took the silver medal and Jessica Judd (2:03.43) of Great Britain took the bronze.
Forty-one of the top American high school athletes competed at the International Association of Athletics Federation’s World Youth Championship. This year’s team also included 1500-meter runner Cami Chapus ’12, who finished in 5th in her final Saturday. Over 1000 athletes from 175 countries competed in the IAAF Championship from July 6 to July 10.