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Gold and Bronze for Collie-Minns twins

Reports out of Lille, France, had other nations crying foul play for The Bahamas’ double-edged-sword in the Boys Triple Jump event. A few of them probably thought they were just seeing double. Well, it could be a problem they could face for many years to come, as Latario and Lathone Collie-Minns stole the show at the 7th International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Youth Championships, and show tremendous promise for the future.

They came within an eyelash of becoming the first set of twin brothers to win gold and silver at a major athletics competition. As a matter of fact, it came right down to the final jump on Saturday afternoon in Lille.

South African Albert Janki split the dynamic duo with a tremendous clutch jump on his final attempt. On the strength of a 2.6 meters per second (mps) tailwind, he moved from fifth to second with a personal best leap of 15.95m (52’ 4”), leaving Latario and Lathone to finish first and third.

World youth leader Latario turned in a splendid jump of 16.06m (52’ 8-1/4”) on his first attempt, which held up throughout, for the gold medal. Lathone leapt 15.51m (50’ 10-3/4”) on his second attempt which was good enough for the bronze medal. He opened with a 15.12m (49’ 7-1/4”) leap on his first attempt, and then turned in his bronze medal winning jump on his second attempt.

Latario passed on his second attempt, and then both brothers decided to pass their third round jumps, they both fouled their fourth attempts and then both passed again on their fifth.

It would be Janki who would spoil the 1-2 aspirations of the twins though. Prior to his stunning silver medal winning leap, his previous best jump was just 15.50m (50’ 10-1/4”). He improved by almost a half of a meter in one leap. Lathone tried to respond, but could only muster a 15.43m (50’ 7-1/2”) leap on his final attempt.

With the gold medal already secured, Latario scratched his final attempt at the board. This is the first time in history that two Bahamians have won medals in the same event at the world level, and it is definitely the first time that it has been done by twins.

The identical twins came into the championships with the best and third best youth jumps in the world this year. Latario had a best jump of 16.55m (54’ 3-3/4”) and Lathone turned in a best jump of 15.73m (51’ 7-1/4”) this year. Both of those jumps were done at the Scotiabank National High School Track and Field Championships, in March.

After suffering an injury shortly afterwards, Latario missed the CARIFTA Track and Field Championships but watched as his brother won the silver medal at those championships with a best leap of 15.24m (50’).

As for the World Youth Championships, they won their respective qualifying groups on Friday, and were in first and second for most of the final, on Saturday. Janki’s big finish knocked Lathone out of second place, but the South African was still shy of Latario’s opening mark. Latario is still the only youth athlete to surpass the 16m platform this year.

The gold and bronze medal performances produced The Bahamas’ second and third medals of the five-day championships. Shaunae Miller won the Girls 400m on Friday. Stephen ‘Dirty’ Newbold added a fifth medal for The Bahamas on Sunday – a gold in the Boys 200m.

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