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Canada breaks through at world junior track championships Add to ...

Taylor Stewart rewarded the thousands of medal-starved fans cheering him on with Canada's first medal at the IAAF world junior track and field championships.

The London, Ont., native won bronze in the men's long jump with a leap of 7.63 metres in Wednesday's competition. Luvo Manyonga of South Africa won gold with a jump of 7.99 metres and Eusebio Caceres of Spain took silver at 7.90 metres.

"I would say it's storybook," said Stewart, who sat fourth before his sixth and final jump. "It was just the crowd. Everybody was behind me, so I had to please them."

Afterwards, Stewart went straight to the stands to celebrate with his mother. He said the medal was even more special because he had to fight through patellar tendinitis in his right knee before the meet.

"It's the best thing I could ask for, really, coming off a knee injury," Stewart said.

In the marquee event of the night, Jamaican sprinter Dexter Lee muscled past the competition to defend his men's 100-metre title with a run of 10.21 seconds.

"I just did what I came here to do," said Lee, who has drawn comparisons to world-record holder Usain Bolt.

"I'm not sure I want that (comparison)," he said. "We'll see, we'll see, we'll see."

Aaron Brown of Toronto finished fifth with a season-best time of 10.48. Earlier, Brown thrilled the crowd as he won his semifinal with a time of 10.62, tight braided locks flying behind him as he pumped past Lee to beat the eventual champ by four one-hundredths of a second.

"It felt great. It was kind of a David and Goliath thing," Brown said. "I knew if I had a good start, I could compete with anybody here.

"Unfortunately I didn't get a good start in the final, but it definitely felt really good to beat one of the top guys in the world."

Loudia Laarman of Lethbridge, Alta., finished seventh in the women's 100-metre final in 11.81 seconds, after qualifying at 11.73 seconds in the semifinal. Jodie Williams of Britain won in 11.40.

Kevin Mayer of France won the men's decathlon thanks to a top time of 4:21.35 in the final event, the 1,500 metres. Mayer finished with 7,928 points, ahead of Russian Ilya Shkurenev, who dropped to second with 7,830. Marcus Nilsson of Sweden took the bronze with 7,751.

Mercy Cherono of Kenya led most of the women's 5,000 metres, but stumbled just 50 metres from the finish line, allowing Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia to run to the victory with a time of 15:08.06.

Alice Aprot Nawowuna of Kenya ran a personal best of 15:17.39 in bare feet to take third place.

Victoria Hanna of Oshawa, Ont., who was cheered loudly at every lap despite falling well back of the pack, finished last in the 14-woman final with a time of 17:28.99.

Sanni Utriainen of Finland took the women's javelin with a throw of 56.69 metres, while Jacko Gill of New Zealand took the men's shot put (6 kg) with a throw of 20.24 metres, the longest throw of the junior season.

Meanwhile, Alistair Moona of Mississauga, Ont., delighted the Moncton crowd by qualifying for Thursday's men's 400-metre final with a semifinal time of 46.83.

Kenya leads the way with five medals, including two gold.

Canada, which was shut out of the medals two years ago in Poland, has competed in all 13 championships, winning 12 medals overall, including a country-best three in 1992 in Seoul.

More than 1,400 athletes and team officials from 170 countries are in the city for the week-long event, being held in the brand-new 10,000-seat Moncton 2010 Stadium.

The 19-and-under competition is the largest sporting event ever held in Atlantic Canada.

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