Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field

Vashti Cunningham, 18, wins world indoor high jump gold

High school senior Vashti Cunningham, daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, became the youngest high jump champion ever at the world indoor track and field championships on Sunday.

Canadians finish 9th in men's and women's 3,000m

2016 IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships 0:34

Teenager Vashti Cunningham's upcoming to-do list includes prom, a trip to Disneyland and graduation.

Turning pro and making the American team in the high jump for the Rio Olympics rank pretty high up there, too.

The daughter of longtime NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham may even be one of the favorites this summer, especially after winning gold at the world indoor track and field championships on Sunday.

"I'm excited on the inside and keeping it calm on the outside," said Cunningham, who cleared 1.96 metres to become the youngest female ever to capture a title at world indoors. "It means a lot to be the world champion this young. I did not think that I would not be here right now at 18 years old."

This is the latest honour in the rapid rise of Cunningham, who set the American high school record in the event at the U.S. indoor championship last weekend.

Randall Cunningham, who is also his daughter's coach, leapt to his feet when she was pronounced the winner — along with the rest of the crowd at the Portland Convention Center.

"The people have been so supportive of her," Randall Cunningham said in a phone interview afterward. "Vashti has never had people clap when she's about to jump. And they know exactly when to clap. They're like the Seattle Seahawks — the 12th man."

Ahmed and O'Connell each 9th in 3,000m

Canadians Mohammed Ahmed and Jessica O'Connell each finished ninth in their respective 3,000-metre finals. Sheila Reid finished 12th.

"[I'm] disappointed right now," said Ahmed, who graded his performance as an 'F'.

"I'm sure once my system comes down that I'll try to take some benefits out of it and try to learn something from it."

The race was won my Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha in seven minutes, 57.21 seconds — a slow, tactical result for any of the athletes in the final. Ahmed finished in 8:07.96.

"I feel like I'm as quick as any of these guys," continued the 25-year-old St. Catharines, Ont., native. "I'm at a loss for words right now for what I'm missing."

The women's race was also slow and tactical. The gold medal went to Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba, who ran 8:47.43, more than 30 seconds slower than her world record over the distance.

O'Connell ran to a 9:05.71 performance.

"That's a textbook championships race and going through that is invaluable,"  the Calgary resident said about her race, but "no one comes to the world championships to come ninth."

Reid was 12th in 9:19.67.

With files from CBC Sports

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