Japan's Iizuka upset winner in men's 200m final at IAAF World Junior Championships

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Japan's Shota Iizuka celebrates after winning the men's 200 meters event at the 13th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Junior Championships at the Stade Moncton 2010 Stadium in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, on July 23, 2010.

MONCTON, Canada, July 23 -- Shota Iizuka defied the odds to capture Japan's first-ever sprint gold medal at a World Junior Championships Friday night when he won the 200 meters against tough competition in this eastern Canadian city.

A false start in the qualifying rounds Thursday claimed ones of the top contenders, Dexter Lee of Jamaica, who had already won the 100 meters sprint for the second IAAF junior championship in a row. Iizuka had set a personal best in the qualifiers and had set the IAAF season best time.

He got off to a great start in the final race, seemed to let up a bit in the stretch, but turned it on in the home stretch to win a decisive victory over Aliaksandr Linnik of Belarus. Hometown favorite Aaron Brown of Canada also ran strongly in the home stretch to edge past South Africa's Wayde Van Niekerk.

"I'm feeling amazing. Just one word - amazing," Iizuka said after the race. "This is the greatest opportunity I've ever had, to run in such a prestigious competition, so I just tried to do my best. For me, I was almost trying to intimidate the others, so for me it was fun. I was confident."

He said his strategy was to maintain his stamina and just do his best. "Don't hesitate, just focus," he said. "Until the last day of competition, our team will just fly through it - just go for it."

"I'm running for the relay. And then after that, hopefully the Olympics," he added.

Linnik, the silver medalist, said he was satisfied with his second-place finish. He plans to run in the European junior championship next summer.

"I feel the time could have been better, but I'm happy," Linnik said. "The competition was strong, because it's the world level, so I felt more pressure this way, but otherwise it was just a regular competition."

Brown, the Canadian athlete who took the bronze at a personal best time said the crowd's enthusiasm fuelled his come-from-behind win.

"I really pushed it at the end. The crowd was a motivating factor for sure. I could hear them cheering me on so I wanted to give them something to be proud of," Brown said.

In the women's 200 meters sprint, favorite Jody Williams, the 16-year-old British running prodigy, was thwarted in her attempt to win both the 100 and 200 meters race. She seemed tired at the beginning of today's 200 meters final and got off to a very bad start.

She was beaten by Stormy Williams of the United States, who opened up a two-meter lead by the end of the race.

Kendrick, ecstatic about winning her country's first track gold medal of these games, said, "I'm just so happy I just don't know what to say. Win, that's what I came to do. And we have the relay tomorrow, so we're hoping for another gold medal in that. I had great competition, but I knew I had to run my race and just be patient and not stress near the end."

Jodie Williams blamed the grueling schedule of races and qualifying heats, along with the high expectations placed upon her, for her second-place finish.

In the men's 400 meters hurdles final, the race was between Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Takatoshi Abe of Japan. Gordon managed to hold Ito at bay to win the gold.

"Coming home on the straight, I actually felt the presence of the Japanese (Takatoshi Abe) coming on to me," Gordon said after the race. "I just didn't know what to do, exactly, so I just went ahead and held him off."

Gordon is confident the Trinidadian team will win a medal at Saturday' s 4 X 400 meter relay event.

Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar won the men's high jump final with a height of 2.30 meters.

"I think when I missed at 2.26m it was the best for me, because then I started to think about what I was doing and not just running. I got into the mood and made 2.30m on my first jump," he said.

The final was a struggle between Barshim and the USA's David Smith. Only three men cleared 2.21 meters. Naoto Tobe of Japan heldion for bronze courtesy of a clean sheet until that point.

Barshim cleared 2.24 meters the first time around and took sole hold of the gold medal position for the first time in the competition. It took Smith two tries to improve his personal best by 1 centimeter and remain in contention.

The bar was raised to 2.26 meters, a height only Barshim had mastered before.

Barshim was able to clear it but Smith could not and settled for silver. With the gold medal secure, Barshim asked for the bar to be moved at 2.30 meters. He cleared it on the first attempt, but was unable to cross the bar at 2.32 meters, although his first try was agonizingly close.