Athletics: Rising star Jacob Fincham-Dukes leaps to European Junior Championships silver

Jacob Fincham-Dukes. Picture : Adrian Murray. (1407011AM1)
Jacob Fincham-Dukes. Picture : Adrian Murray. (1407011AM1)
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Teenage long-jumper Jacob Fincham-Dukes topped off a remarkable season by winning a surprise silver medal at the European Junior (U20) Championships in Eskilstuna in Sweden.

The Harrogate athlete leapt to a new personal best of 7.75m - equivalent to two Mini Coopers - to confirm his status as the best young jumper in the country.

The performance moved him tenth onto the all time list of U20 British long jumpers and firmly put him on the world junior long jump map.

Fincham-Dukes added to a strong medal haul for Great Britain at the championships, with the national squad topping the medal table with 11 golds and six silvers.

Fincham-Dukes said: “I was not ranked to win a medal but I have been jumping well and knew if I could get through to the top eight and the last three jumps, I could medal and so it proved with his leap coming in the fourth round.”

The 18-year-old went into the competition ranked 11th in Europe but was confident he could medal following a season where he has held all available County, Northern and National Indoor and Outdoor long jump titles.

He laid down an early marker to the rest of the field by jumping into third place with a leap of 7.28m in his first round. His second attempt took him out to 7.37m which was good enough to put him in the top eight for the final three jumps.

But it wasn’t until the fourth round that the City of Leeds athlete leapt to a new personal best of 7.75m, which moved him seventh in the British senior standings.

Going for gold on his final attempt, he missed out on a second lifetime best, recording 7.56m.

Russian Anatoliy Ryapolov took top spot with a fifth-round leap of 7.96m, with bronze medallist Filippo Randazzo of Italy one centimetre behind Fincham-Dukes.

Fincham-Dukes will soon head out to the United States to begin athletics scholarship at Oklahoma State University.

Next season he will focus attentions on qualifying for the World Junior Championships in Russia.

He added: “I have another year left in the juniors’ and I want to go to Russia and medal again, this time I’m looking to come away with the gold.”