Michelle Jenneke (NSW), and the Australian Spark's boy's and girl's 4x400m relay teams have delivered a further three top-eight performances to close out competition at the IAAF world junior championships in Barcelona (ESP).
Jenneke placed 5th (13.54) in the girl's 100m hurdles final, while the boy's 4x400m relay team crossed 4th (3:06.58) and the girl's 4x400m relay team 8th (3:38.84)
The first Australian Spark to compete today, Jenneke launched out of lane nine. Clipping the first hurdle, she then surged to hit the tenth barrier in a battle for the minor medals before being narrowly edged out to cross 5th in 13.54 (w: -2.4). Morgan Snow (USA, 13.38) won the gold medal and was joined on the dais Noemi Zbaren (SUI, second, 13.42) and Ekaterine Bleskina (RUS, third, 13.43).
Jenneke said: "I just competed in a world junior championship final and that's a result that you should always be happy with. Clipping the first hurdle wasn't part of the plan but that's the nature of my event and I on the whole pretty happy with the run.
"This opportunity has shown me what athletics can be and it's definitely something that I want to experience again. I will take a little time off now but then it will be back to the track to prepare for next year where I will compete across the Australian domestic season.
"My goals for next year are undetermined. I will be chasing good results no matter what and hopefully that allows me to compete more for Australia in the future."
Competing in the last event on the timetable the Australian Spark boy's 4x400m relay team comprised, in running order, Jarryd Buchan (Vic), Jay Meaney (Qld), Max Waldron (Tas) and Steve Solomon (NSW).
Starting in lane nine, Buchan glided around the second bend to bring Australia into the straight out in front before Meaney launched into the next lap. Meaney then handed the baton to his fellow Australian debutante Waldron before Solomon, who won a bronze medal in the individual 400m, brought the team home in a resounding fashion to cross in 3:06.58.
The gold medal was won by Team USA in a world junior lead time of 3:03.99, ahead of Poland (second, 3:05.05, national record) and Trinidad and Tobago (third, 3:06.32). The time of Trinidad and Tobago is just 0.26 ahead of the Australian Spark in 4th.
In the girl's 4x400m relay, Abbey de la Motte (Tas) led out strongly before the baton was passed to Ella Solin (WA), 400m hurdles semi-finalist Tessa Consedine (Vic) and 400m semi-finalist Morgan Mitchell (Vic).
The Australian Spark team crossed 8th in a time of 3:38.84, with the event won by Team USA in a world junior lead time of 3:30.01 after they were added as a ninth team to final because their protest against disqualification was upheld.
At the close of the championships, Australia had achieved 14 top-eight performances to rank 8th on the placing table with 60 points.
Our five-medal haul equals the number won in Santiago (CHI) in 2000 and is the best since Sydney (NSW) hosted the IAAF world junior championships in 1996.
Additionally, 13 athletes improved their personal best, and four performances – Damien Birkinhead (VIC, shot put), Nick Hough (NSW, 110mH), Jake Stein (NSW, decathlon) and the boy’s 4x100m relay – eclipsed the previous national under 20 records.
Sara Mulkearns, Australian team leader and Athletics Australia Junior High Performance Manager, said: "We are yet to complete an overall analysis of the four-week tour but it is clear it has been a very successful one. So many athletes improved their career bests while in the team environment in the lead up to and in Barcelona, and the number of medals won at the world juniors is the third best performance by Australia from 14 championships.
"One of our key high performance strategies has been to develop the sprints through our Target Talent Relays program. The three top-eight performances in the relays, and an Australian record, is testimony to this work over the past two years. "
"It has been a great trip and I commend all involved. From the athletes and their personal coaches, as well as the team staff and medicos, this has been a massive undertaking and the Australian Spark will return home with their head held high.
"I am proud of what we have been able to achieve on this tour. I hope that the work that so many at Athletics Australia have delivered is continued with support from the community because these results, as well as successful programs domestically, prove we are heading in the right direction."
To view and download full results from day six, the final day, of the IAAF world junior championships, please click here.
Subscribe to our newsletters to keep up to date with Athletics in Australia.