Monday, 29 July 2013

Reliving Olympic Memories

This past weekend, it was fantastic to revisit the London Olympic Stadium for the 'Anniversary Games', which provided a wonderful opportunity to relive my many happy memories of London 2012.

One year from the date of the Olympic Games' opening ceremony, British Athletics held a two-day extravaganza of world-class Olympic action and it was a pleasure to join the organising press team once more.

Working alongside a plethora of experienced and all-round lovely bunch of athletics media professionals, I joined the flash-quote team for trackside interviews, which - just like in Gothenburg and Gateshead earlier this year - was certainly a fun way of both witnessing the performances and gauging the initial reactions of the athletes.

I am looking forward to returning to the stadium when it reopens in 2015 and particularly, heading back there for the 2017 World Championships...!

Now, as the season almost reaches its' close with the Moscow World Champs and few remaining Diamond Leagues on the European circuit, it's time for me to reflect on a fabulous indoor and outdoor season which included five major championships and trips to four different countries before a long-awaited holiday to Rome with my beau next month...

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Boys' medley relay final report - Donestk 2013


Jamaica toppled favourites USA for victory in the Medley Relay, storming to a 1:49.23 World youth best* in the process.

Improving the USA’s 2011 winning squad’s 1:49.47 time, the Jamaican quartet were led off by Waseem Williams - who finished seventh in the 100m final on Thursday (11) - on the 100m leg before Michael O’Hara took over on the 200m stage of the race.

O’Hara, the 200m gold medallist from earlier in the evening and 100m silver medallist, established a slight lead from the USA outfit, as Okeen Williams took over with 300m to run.

It was then down to Friday’s (12) 400m gold medallist, Martin Manley to take charge with an unassailable lead over his one-lap run for home, finishing almost a second clear of the runners-up.

Surprisingly, Jamaica have only ever won bronze in this event at the Ostrava edition in 2007, whilst the USA team’s fine tradition was upset following their six victories in the eight editions of this championship. 

The USA’s 400m silver medallist, Ryan Clark could not match Manley’s closing speed, as the American joined forces with Jaalen Jones, Noah Lyles and Taylor McClaughlin to claim the silver medal in 1:50.14.

In bronze, Japan clocked a 1:50.52 personal best as Daiki Oda, Shunto Nagata, Kakeru Yamaki and Kaisei Yui took their nation’s fifth medal in the history of this event.

*Subject to the usual ratification procedures.

Girls' heptathlon report - Donetsk 2013


With an inspired second day, Germany’s Celina Leffler used her leading performances in the long jump, javelin and the 800m to grab victory in a 5747 championship best.

The 17-year-old’s score was a lifetime best by 67 points, finishing over 150 points ahead of Sweden’s Emma Stenlof, who in turn recorded a 5590 personal best for the silver medal.

Leffler’s team-mate, Louisa Grauvogel moved from fifth to third place after the final event courtesy of a 2:19.26 800m lifetime best, her score culminating with 5581.

The winner in Donetsk, Ukraine was almost 300 points adrift of Britain’s Morgan Lake at the end of day one following world youth leader, Lake’s impressive 1.90m high jump to head the outright 2013 global youth list by 2cm.

But as day two began, Lake suffered disappointing performances in the long jump (4.73m) and javelin (30.81m) and so decided to withdraw from the final discipline of the heptathlon competition, looking visibly devastated.

For Leffler meanwhile, today kept on getting better with a 6.09m long jump personal best, a 40.95m javelin lifetime best and a third dominant performance in the 800m to take the gold.

Her title is Germany’s second in the 14-year history of this championship, following Annett Wichman’s victory in Debrecen, 2001 and the nation has additionally taken three silvers and three bronze during the eight editions of this event.

Claiming Sweden’s first ever medal in the world youth heptathlon, Stenlof enjoyed a consistent series of events on both days.

The 17-year-old high registered three personal bests in the high jump (1.78m), shot put (13.84m) and javelin (38.81m), before improving her heptathlon score by 8 points.

In a great competition for Germany, Grauvogel too set new marks with a 44.65m javelin effort and her two lap time to finish only 9 points behind silver. 

Australian pair Aliyah Johnson and Alysha Burnett finished in fourth and fifth, respectively with personal best scores of 5547 and 5505.

Boys' octathlon report - Donetsk 2013


Smashing his lifetime best by over 500 points, Norway’s Karsten Warholm stole the show in the boys’ Octathlon, recording no less than six lifetime best performances over the two-day competition.

With a 6451 score over, the 17-year-old fell only 40 points short of the World youth best and finished almost 200 points ahead of Russia’s Feliks Shestopalov (6260) and the Czech Republic’s Jan Dolezal (6222) in silver and bronze with a personal best each, respectively. 

For 17-year-old Shestopalov, the mark represented an improvement of over 200 points courtesy of six lifetime best scores, whilst – like Warholm - taking his nation’s first ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship.

Dolezal, meanwhile with six lifetime bests also, took the Czech Republic’s third medal across the eight editions of this event, following silver in 2007 and bronze in 2003 for the nation.

For Warholm, the event was an opportunity to establish his dominance from the offset, which he did in speeding to a 10.86 100m personal best as the fastest qualifier of the day before producing a solid 7.30m long jump.

Later on day one, he threw another lifetime best in the shot with 12.94m to maintain the overall lead, before extending his margin again in the final event of the day, the 400m, by running 48.09 for the quickest time and a personal best to boot.

Warholm therefore held the overnight lead with 3347, with Shestopalov further adrift in fourth with 3137 and Dolezal in sixth with 3124.

Beginning the second day with the fastest time in the 110m hurdles via a 13.86 personal best before jumping another best with 2.02m in the high jump, Warholm fell over two metres short of his best in the javelin with a 42.53m effort but enjoyed a strong enough lead going into the final event, the 1,000m to have a glimpse at glory.

Speeding to a 2:57.93 lifetime best, the Czech finished behind Dolezal’s strong 2:48.15 personal best mark but it was by far enough to enjoy a comfortable victory.

Girls’ hammer throw final report - Donetsk 2013


As predicted, Reka Gyuratz and Helga Volgyi continued their intense rivalry and achieved a Hungarian 1-2 in the girls’ Hammer Throw final, surpassing the 70m mark on seven occasions between them as the rest of the field could not contend with their dominance.

Having thrown an impressive 76.04m lifetime best and world youth lead last month, Gyuratz – who has improved by a staggering six metres this summer – claimed the gold medal as expected courtesy of a 73.20 championship record in the second round.

The 17-year-old World junior finalist enjoyed a consistent series of efforts including 72.46m, 71.49m and 70.90m as Volgyi joined her team-mate on the medal podium with a 71.95m best on her third attempt.

Almost two and a half metres down on her personal best, Volgyi went over 70 metres on two other occasions with 70.81m and 70.49m to open and close her campaign.

Competing with the new 3kg implement, Gyuatz now leads the duo’s head-to-head battle 9-8, and following Friday’s (12) 71.72m championship record in qualifying before her 73.20m victory, she has taken Hungary’s first medal in this event since Andrea Keri won the 2001 title in Debrecen.

Taking the bronze medal, Ukraine’s Valeriia Semenkova delighted her home crowd with two lifetime bests.

The 17-year-old first threw 67.55m in the second round and then 68.62m to snatch third place. 

Meanwhile, Norway’s Beatrice Nedberg Llano finished fourth with a 68.31m personal best, the 15-year-old improving by over five metres ahead of Greece’s Dimitra Zotou in fifth place with 67.20m – a mark which represented an astonishing nine metre improvement in 2013. 

Boys’ hammer throw final report - Donetsk 2013


Croatia’s Matiji Greguric unleashed a mammoth 79.38m effort to snatch victory in the sixth and final round in a competition which saw the lead being exchanged several times with huge distances in the latter stages. 

The 16-year-old shot from fifth to first place courtesy of his impressive best mark, pushing the current leader Australia’s Matthew Denny (78.67m) out of contention as Belarus’ Pavel Paliakoy’s 79.02m last–gasp throw then snuck him into the silver medal position, thus leaving Denny to take the bronze.

Greguric enjoyed a consistent series including 76.19m, 76.62m and 78.37m efforts before taking his winning throw to clinch Croatia’s first ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship.

Paliakoy meanwhile, progressed from fourth to second place with his best effort, following 77.05m, 78.45m, 77.92m and 77.60m marks.

Denny, who leads the discus world youth list, will attempt to make amends with gold in that event on Saturday (13), having fell almost four metres short of his 81.44m best this evening.

The 17-year-old Australian fouled three times and could only open his campaign with 77.66m and 77.37m, respectively – eventually going a metre further on his fifth attempt. 

In fourth place, Raman Zholudzeu of Belarus registered a 78.55m personal best, whilst Qatar’s Ahmed Amgad Elsify threw a 77.33m lifetime best for fifth. 

Girls' discus throw final report - Donetsk 2013


China’s Yuchen Xie smashed the championship record by over a metre en route to claiming the girls’ Discus gold medal, claiming a popular victory in a superb 56.34m to continue her nation’s fine showing in the history of this event in the World Youth Championships.

Having taken the 1999, 2001 and 2009 titles, China placed high hopes on Xie’s shoulders and as expected, the 17-year-old replicated her countrywoman, Li Shanshan – the 2009 winner’s – winning performance in a dominant display in Donetsk, Ukraine.

In the only girls’ throwing event where athletes compete with the senior implement, Xie led a world-leading 1-2-3 as Germany’s Claudine Vita grabbed silver (with a 52.59m personal best) from China’s Xinyun Liang who clinched the bronze medal with a 51.50m lifetime best.

For 17-year-old Xie, her winning mark represented the icing on the cake following a strong series of efforts including 53.24m, 55.01m and 54.06m in the preceding rounds.

Indeed, the victor enjoyed a successful day all round, having led the qualifying rounds with a 52.94m throw in the morning session, thus setting the scene for a scintillating final ahead. 

Girls' shot put final report - Donetsk 2013


Turkey’s Emel Dereli has dominated the girls’ Shot Put this year and last month threw a fine 19.99m so it was no surprise to see the 17-year-old capture the World youth title in thrilling fashion.

Following a 19.18m effort to lead the qualifying round this morning (11), the World Junior Championship eighth place finisher threw a superb 20.14m championship record and World youth best in the first round of tonight’s final to clinch her nation’s first ever medal in this event during the eight editions of these championships.

Competing with a 3kg implement for the first time in the World youth event and thus her qualifying throw becoming a championship record before her mammoth throw in the final, Dereli – who has improved by over a metre this season – was followed by Russia’s Alena Bugakova (18.60m) and the USA’s Ashlie Blake (17.57m) in silver and bronze, respectively.

Dereli had so much distance to spare over her compatriots that she could afford to register three fouls and decline to take her sixth and final attempt.

Sixteen-year-old Bugakova meanwhile, with a lifetime best of 19.17m set last month, went over 18-metres three times and finished clear of her American rival, who only finished 40cm adrift of her personal best.

Taking Russia’s first ever medal in this event, Bugakova has improved by over four metres this season, whilst Blake’s bronze medal represents the USA’s first medal in this event since World indoor bronze medallist, Michelle Carter took the 2001 title in Debrecen with 15.23m.

The 17-year-old, who additionally failed to qualify for the final of the discus in Donetsk, finished clear of Germany’s Anika Nehls in fourth with 17.23m, as Poland’s Klaudia Kardasz placed fifth with 16.98m.

*Subject to the usual ratification procedures. 

Boys' shot put final report - Donetsk 2013


With a consistent series of impressive throws, Patrick Muller led a German 1-2 in the boys’ Shot Put final, taking the World youth title with a 22.02m lifetime best from Henning Prufer (21.94m).

The 17-year-old opened the competition with a 10cm improvement of his best with the almighty 22.02m mark to follow in the footsteps of his countryman, current World champion David Storl, who clinched the 2007 World youth title in Ostrava with a 21.40m effort.  

Muller will hope to go down the same path as Storl, as the 22-year-old went on to claim the World junior crown the following year ahead of taking Olympic silver in London last summer.

Executing a strong series of throws including marks of 21.63m, 21.85 and 21.20, Muller – who qualified first with 21.25m earlier in the day – will enjoy the company of teammate, Prufer on the medal rostrum following the latter’s personal best performance by over one metre.

The 17-year-old’s fine 21.94m throw was followed by four fouls before a final 2XXX effort to comfortably take the silver medal ahead of Egypt’s Mohamed Magdi Hamza, who threw 20.58m for bronze.

The 17-year-old enjoyed two other 20m-plus throws with 20.11m and 20.43m in the third and fifth rounds, respectively and in turn took his nation’s first medal in this event since Yasser Ibrahim Farag finished runner-up in the 2001 event in Debrecen.

Further back in fourth, Croatia’s Martin Markovic registered a best of 20.54m whilst World youth leader, Konrad Bukowiecki of Poland will be disappointed to finish fifth with 20.10m – over two-metres down on his 22.33m lifetime and season’s best.

Girls' javelin final report - Donetsk 2013


Australia’s Mackenzie Little won a dramatic battle with Cuba’s Yulenmis Aguilar in the Javelin Throw final, with both athletes swapping ownership of the championship record and the lead in a thrilling tussle for gold.

Competing with a lighter 500g implement, the 16-year-old opened her campaign with a fine 57.29 championship record before Aguilar responded with a 59.94 championship record and lifetime best.

Determined to regain her lead, however, Little dug deep into her reserves to unleash an astounding 61.47m in the fifth round, thus smashing her pre-event personal best by almost five metres.

Her victory is Australia’s first in this event in the eight editions of these championships since Kimberly Mickle won in Debrecen in 2001, and follows Monique Cilione’s bronze medal in Lille two years ago.

In third, Latvia’s Anete Kocina threw a best of 54.26m in round one to narrowly push Hungary’s Reka Szilagyi (54.24m) into fourth, while Turkey’s Eda Tugsuz placed fifth with 51.56m.

Boys' javelin final report - Donetsk 2013


Slovenia, Hungary and Spain each claimed their first Javelin Throw medal in the 14-year history of this event, as Slovenia’s Matija Muhar unleashed a 78.84m lifetime best to take the victory.

The 16-year-old has improved by almost seven and a half metres this year and he continued his breakthrough season by grabbing gold ahead of Hungary’s Norbert Rivasz-Toth (78.27m).

Muhar launched the spear to his personal best in his opening throw followed by two fouls, and only 67.04m and 68.98m, before declining to take his final effort.

Rivasz-Toth meanwhile, saved his best for the fifth round as he cleared 73 metres on five occasions following his 12th place finish in the World junior final last summer but he will be disappointed not to get near his 79.82m best mark from May.

Taking the bronze medal, Spain’s Pablo Bugallo threw 76.63m as he exceeded the 70 metre mark four times, as Finnish duo Oliver Helander and Lassi Saarinen finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Helander reached a best of 75.36m, whilst Saarinen recorded 76.63m – two metres down on his qualifying distance.

Girls' pole vault final report - Donetsk 2013


Fifteen-year-old Robeilys Peinado defeated girls two years her senior in taking the pole vault crown by 10 centimetres, despite finishing below her 4.35m lifetime best.

The Venezuelan cleared a best of 4.25m before failing at her one 4.30m and two 4.36m attempts, as Russia’s 17-year-old Alena Lutkovskaya claimed the silver medal with 4.25m.

Capturing only her nation’s second ever medal in the 14-year history of this championship, Peinado’s silverware follows Keisa Monterola’s silver medal in the discipline at the Marrakech, 2005 event.

For Lutkovskaya meanwhile, she follows in the illustrious footsteps of world outdoor record-holder, Yelena Isinbaeva who won the 1999 title in Bydgoszcz. Despite not winning tonight (13), she jumped 5 centimetres higher than her compatriot did 14 years ago.

In the bronze medal position, Latvia’s Krista Obizajeva cleared a best of 4.05m to capture her nation’s first ever medal in the eight editions of this event in this championship.

New Zealand’s Eliza McCartney and Australia’s Nina Kennedy, both with a 4.05m height, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Girls' high jump final report - Donetsk 2013


Australia’s Eleanor Patterson not only took the High Jump crown with 6cm to spare over her nearest challenger but the 17-year-old additionally registered a lifetime best in the process.

Having qualified for the final with an energy-conserving 1.74m, Patterson cleared 1.88m on her second attempt to push Italy’s Erika Furlani into the runner-up position, aided by her 1.82m personal best.

Patterson, whose previous best of 1.87m was established back in December, opened her campaign at the 1.79m mark – clearing that height, 1.82m and 1.85m each on her first attempt.

Her first foul arrived at the 1.88m point which she then continued to clear on her second effort, before attempting to improve the 1.90m World youth lead which was registered by Britain’s Morgan Lake earlier in the day during the first day of the heptathlon. 

Failing to clear 1.91m on three occasions, Patterson failed in her quest but will be content with her dominant performance in Donetsk, Ukraine nevertheless and in turn claimed Australia’s first medal in this event since Petrina Price took silver in Debrecen twelve years ago. 

Furlani meanwhile, continued her fine form after setting a 1.77m lifetime in the qualifying round in clearing 1.82m at the third and final attempt.

The 17-year-old had second-time clearances at 1.75m and 1.79m, and failed on her only available attempt at the 1.85m point to settle for the silver medal.

Her medal is Italy’s first in this event since Alessia Trost took gold in Debrecen four years ago. 

South Africa’s Julia Du Plessis claimed the bronze medal with a best 1.79m clearance, having failed three times at 1.82m to take her nation’s first ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship.

The 17-year-old has a lifetime best of 1.88m set in March, 2012 but the World Junior Championship finalist could not get near to her best.

In fourth and fifth place, respectively, Morocco’s Rhizlane Siba and Brazil’s Ana Paula De Oliveira reached 1.79m.

Boys' high jump final report - Donetsk 2013


Sanghyeok Woo captured Korea’s first ever medal in the 14-year history of this championship, clearing a 2.20m lifetime best to take the gold and continue his dramatic seven centimetre improvement in 2013.

The 17-year-old had only one minor blip en route to his final clearance, easily advancing at 2.02m, 2.11m, 2.14m, 2.16m, 2.18m and 2.20m on his first attempts before attacking 2.23m but to no avail. 

In the silver medal position, 15-year-old Jiaxu Bai from China leapt a 2.18m personal best after clearing 1.97m, 2.02m, 2.07m and 2.11m on attempt number one, before taking two attempts at 2.14m and going straight ahead after 2.16m.

On succeeding in his second effort at 2.18m, the Chinaman then took three fruitless attempts at the 2.20m to settle for the runner-up position. 

It was the East-Asia nation’s third medal in the history of this World youth event, with China claiming gold in the Marrakech, 2005 and Ostrava, 2007 events courtesy of Huang Haiqiang and Wang Chen.

In third with 2.16m, Jamaica’s Christoff Bryan took his nation’s first ever medal in this event in the editions of this championship, having enjoyed first-time clearances at 2.07m, 2.14m and 2.16m.

Beforehand, he skipped the 2.11m mark before registering three fouls at 2.18m which is four centimetres below his lifetime best.

Ukraine’s Oleksandr Barannikov and Bahamas’ Laguan Nairn both cleared 2.16m personal bests to finish fourth and fifth, respectively. 

Girls' long jump final report - Donetsk 2013


Romania’s Florentina Marincu today (14) achieved the Triple Jump and Long Jump double, with a 6.42m best effort for gold only two days after leaping to a 13.75m World youth lead in the former event.

The 17-year-old follows in the footsteps of her countrywoman, Cristine Spartaru who took victory in both horizontal jumps at the Sherbrooke, 2003 championships, as she finished just there centimetres clear of the USA’s Keturah Orji in second place.

Marincu opened her campaign with a modest 5.85m effort before progressing to 5.93m and 6.42m in the second and third rounds.

She could not improve any further with 6.24m in the fourth, followed by a foul and 6.19m but the world youth number one – with 6.54m set last month – held on for the gold.

Orji meanwhile, leapt a 6.39m lifetime best in the sixth and final round to add to her Triple Jump bronze medal and take the USA’s second ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship.

In third, Poland’s 17-year-old Natalia Chacinska registered a 6.22m personal best to take her nation’s first ever medal in the Long Jump and pip Brazil’s Janaina Fernandes who herself jumped a 6.21m best.

The USA’s Courtney Corrin could not replicate her 6.31m from the qualifying round the previous day, as she leapt a best of 6.19m for fifth place.

Boys' long jump final report - Donetsk 2013


Anatoliy Ryapolov leapt to a gold medal-winning 7.79m and Russia’s first gold medal in the history of this event in these championships, living up to the heavy expectations of being the favourite in the countdown to the final.

The 16-year-old, who registered an eye-catching 7.90m in his homeland last month, executed a consistent series of jumps including 7.71m, 7.65m and 7.63m en route to claiming victory.

China’s Yaoquing Fang took the silver medal with a 7.53m leap to capture his nation’s third title in the 14-year history of this championship, following Shang Yapeng’s gold medal performance in Bydgoszcz, 1999 and Lin Qing’s win in Lille two years ago.

Taking the bronze medal and replicating London 2012 Olympic champion, Christian Taylor’s third place finish in Ostrava, 2007, meanwhile, was the USA’s Isaiah Moore who additionally registered 7.53m for a personal best.

Further adrift in fourth, Japan’s Shuhei Matsuoka leapt a 7.40m lifetime best, whilst China’s Zhong Peifeng placed fifth with 7.34m.

Boys' 10,000m walk final report - Donetsk 2013


Toshikazu Yamanishi claimed Japan’s first 10,000m Race Walk victory in the 14-year history of this championship in a dramatic last lap, which saw Guatemala’s Jose Alejandro Barrondo disqualified with only 60 metres remaining whilst in the silver medal position.

Clocking the second-fastest time of the year with a 41:53.80 lifetime best, Yamanishi was followed home by Russia’s Maksim Krasnov and Spain’s Diego Garcia, with the former winning a thrilling sprint finish for the silver medal in a 42:03.10 personal best to Garcia’s 42:03.32 lifetime best for third.

The early pace had been set by Australia’s Nathan Brill who took Yamanishi through the first kilometre in 4:14.12, with Krasnov and Garcia 30 metres further back.

Upping the tempo with a 4:05.78 and 4:09.29 second and third kilometre split, Brill then took off at the 4,200m mark with Yamanishi for close company.

But with 13 laps remaining, Krasnov and Garcia caught the duo as Brill was forced to concede the lead just after the halfway point which was reached in 20:53.73.

Seventeen year-old Diego subsequently took his turn at the head of the pack with Yamashita and Barrondo in close contention and with eight laps remaining, a group of six were packed tightly together as Garcia, Yamanishi and Barrondo moved into the medal positions, while the pace dropped to around 4:20 per kilometre pace.

As the lap counter read 5 remaining, Krasnov moved to the front and was quickly chased by Barrondo and Garcia as Brill paid for his early exuberant tempo and dropped off the group.

As the 9,000m point was reached with a swift 4:09.06 kilometre split, Barrondo then headed back to the front and with 800m to go, Garcia looked to have lost his chance of a medal, losing touch with Yamanishi and Krasnov who were closely guarding the Guatemalan’s move.

Seventeen year-old Yamanishi decided to unleash his kick for home 600m out as Barrondo rallied 10 metres adrift with 17-year-old Krasnov another 10 metres back.

As the Japanese athlete stormed clear for victory following a superb 3:52.50 final kilometre split, Barrondo suffered as dramatic disqualification with only 60m remaining whilst in the silver medal position.

Taking the surprise opportunity for a medal upgrade, Krasnov and Garcia battled right to the finish-line in a last-gasp effort, as  Japan’s Yuga Yamashita and Brill finished fourth and fifth, respectively with a 42:07.94 personal best and 42:54.70.

Krasnov’s silver follows Russia’s fine tradition in this event with six victories in eight editions of this championship, whilst Garcia claimed Spain’s first ever medal in this event.

Girls' 100m hurdles final report - Donetsk 2013


Flying to a 12.94 World youth best*, Jamaica’s Yanique Thompson captured her nation’s first gold medal in this event during the eight editions of this championship, following their three silver medals at the 2003, 2005 and 2007 events.

The 17-year-old had ran no faster than 13.23 before arriving in Donestk but registered 13.10 in her semi-final winning performance before saving her best for the final.

Pulling clear in the final 10 metres after a blistering start and having cleared all ten barriers with ease, the
Jamaican was followed by the USA’s Dior Hall who sped to a 13.01 personal best to take the silver medal ahead of team-mate Mikiah Brisco (13.29) in third with another lifetime best mark.

Seventeen year-old Hall improved from 13.16 in the semi-final stage – a World youth lead before Thompson’s 13.10 - and was a semi-finalist at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona last summer, hinting at her capability.

Hall and Brisco’s silverware thus succeeded in continuing the fine American showing in this event, following three gold, one silver and four bronze medals for the USA in the 14-year history of this championship.

In fourth, Jamaica’s Rushelle Burton clocked a 13.32 personal best, with Sweden’s Adriana Janic close behind in fifth with a 13.33 lifetime best. 

*Subject to the usual ratification procedures.

Boys' 2000m steeplechase final report - Donetsk 2013


In a thrilling battle all the way to the finish-line, Ethiopia’s Mersesa Kahsay eclipsed the World youth best* en route to taking victory over Kenya’s Nicholas Kiptonui Bett in a scintillating 5:19.99.

The 17-year-old World Junior Championship seventh place finisher smashed his lifetime best by 20 seconds in the process, following the East African pair’s relentless pace from the offset.

Having reeled in Bett’s 30m advantage by the kilometre mark, which was reached in 2:39.90, Kahsay stuck to Bett like glue as the Kenyan picked up the pace  with 600m remaining before unleashing a superb finishing kick off the final barrier down the home-straight to grab the gold.

His gold medal represents Ethiopia’s first in this event since the Ostrava, 2007 championship where Legese Lamiso prevailed, whilst Bett’s silver medal follows Kenya’s six victories in the eight editions of this event.

Sixteen-year-old Bett meanwhile, took over eight seconds from his personal best in clocking 5:20.92, ahead of his team-mate, Justus Kipkorir Lagat who jogged the final 50 metres, exhausted from matching Bett’s early pace.

Registering a 5:30.00 lifetime best, he finished clear of fourth place finisher Hicham Chemlal of Morocco (5:32.92) and Ethiopia’s Micheale Atsbaha (5:36.64) – the latter two enjoying personal bests in a race where 10 athletes in total could boast the same.

* Subject to the usual ratification procedures.

Girls' 3000m final report - Donetsk 2013


Kenya claimed their sixth girls’ 3,000m title in the eight-year history of these championships courtesy of Lilian Rengeruk’s scorching world-leading 8:58.74 victory and 13-second lifetime best.

The 16-year-old won a thrilling home-straight battle with the fast-finishing Berhan Demiesa of Ethiopia, who in turned registered a fine 9:00.06 personal best from her teammate,  Silenat Yismaw, clocking a 9:01.63 best for bronze.

Remgeruk, the recent winner of Kenya’s World youth trials, shot off from the gun to enjoy a 50m lead and passed the first kilometre mark in  3:01.10, showing she was on course for a sub-nine minute time.

Keeping up her impressive pace with a 3:01.43 split to go through the 2,000m mark in 6:02.53, Remgeruk still had a comfortable 40-metres to play with ahead of the chasing pack, though in a group of four working tightly together, Demiesa and Yismaw looked menacing as they gradually bridged the gap to 30m with two laps remaining.

Hitting the bell in 7:53.30, Remgeruk attempted to change gear and bravely held off the Ethiopian challenge down the final home straight as Demiesa unleashed a dramatic last-gasp sprint but to no avail as her East-African rival narrowly managed to hold the victory in the dying metres. 

Her winning time smashed the previous world-leading mark by almost 10 seconds, as both Demiesa and Yismaw took an astonishing 19 and 17-seconds, respectively off their lifetime bests.

Further back in fourth place, Uganda’s Stella Chesang clocked a 9:11.03 personal best, whilst Germany’s Alina Reh finished fifth in another best, 9:20.99.

World junior champion Mercy Chebwogen, meanwhile, could finish only eighth with a lacklustre 9:27.98.

Boys' 3000m final report - Donetsk 2013


Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha managed to topple the traditional Kenyan dominance in this event, taking victory with an impressive change of pace in a 600m sprint for home to clock a 7:53.56 lifetime best for gold.

The 15-year-old unleashed a 2:30.22 final kilometre to narrowly beat Kenya’s Vedic Kipkoech, who registered 7:55.60 for silver.

The 17-year-old Kipkoech led a pack of five through 1,000m in 2:44.97 before winding up the pace with a 2:38.37 split, hitting 2,000m in 5:23.34 before his Ethiopian rival took charge.

Kejelcha was unchallenged down the final straight, as the fast-finishing Kipkoech passed his tiring team-mate,
Alexander Mutiso Munyao went backwards into the bronze medal position with a 7:56.86 personal best.

Kejelcha’s gold is only Ethiopia’s second in this event during the 14-year history of this championship, following Legese Lamiso’s 2007 victory in Ostrava.

Kenya meanwhile, enjoy a superb history in this event with six gold, seven silver and two bronze in their collection after today’s (14) final.

In fourth place, Ethiopia’s Mogos Tuemay clocked a 8:03.83 lifetime best whilst Eritrea’s Nftalem Kibrab set a 8:05.19 personal best in fifth. 

Boys' 1500m final report - Donetsk 2013


Seventeen year-old Robert Kiptoo Biwott put on an exhibition of front-running prowess, comfortably leading from the gun and extending his lead to 50 metres on his way to a scintillating 3:36.77 championship record.

The 17-year-old Kenyan improved the World youth-leading mark by three seconds, as she finished over four and a half seconds ahead of silver medallist, Tesfu Tewelde of Eritrea who himself registered a 3:42.14 personal best. 

Biwott passed the 400m mark in 59.41 before upping the tempo to a 57.54 second split, reaching 800m in 1:56.95 and enjoying a 10m advantage over his nearest rivals with two laps to go.

The Kenyan then sped up again with a 57.44 lap to go through 1,200m in 2:54.39 as he hit the bell with 50m to spare of the chasing group.

With a final 300m covered in 42.38, the African youth champion stormed home to take his nation’s sixth title in this event during the eight editions of this championship.

Tewelde meanwhile, overhauled Kenya’s Titus Kipruto Kibiego with 70m remaining to take the silver medal, as Kibiego clocked 3:42.97 for bronze.

Further back, Ethiopia’s Mathiwos Yotota finished fourth with a 3:44.43 lifetime best, as the USA’s Blake Haney ran a 3:44.69 personal best in fifth.

Boys' 800m final report - Donetsk 2013


Kenya’s Alfred Kipketer was lucky to hang onto the lead in the closing stages of a fascinating 800m final, as the 16-year-old desperately managed to hang on for victory after a suicidal first 400m which was quicker than world record pace.

Flying off from the gun to clock an astonishing 48.63 split - which is significantly faster than 49.28 Kenyan, David Rudisha ran en route to the 1:40.91 fastest time ever in claiming gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games last summer - Kipketer was eventually caught with 200m remaining but surprisingly, had enough energy in reserve to hold the lead in the dying yards.

Registering a swift 1:48.01 lifetime best, he captured Kenya’s fifth title in the 14-year history of this event in this championship in the process, whilst improving on his 1:48.38 personal best from the semi-final stage two days earlier (11) – a time which was achieved after running 1:50.14 lifetime best in the qualifying stage the day before that (10).

Settling for the silver medal at the end of an impressive fight for gold down the home-straight, Russia’s Konstantin Tolokonnikov clocked a 1:48.29 personal best, with the 17-year-old taking his nation’s first ever medal in this World youth event.

Also in the thick of the last-gasp battle for silverware at the end of a bizarre race, Great Britain’s Kyle Langford finished third with a 1:48.85 lifetime best to take the nation’s first ever medal in this event during the eight editions of this championship.

Further back in fourth, Ethiopia’s Mamush Lencha clocked 1:49.85 as Germany’s Marc Reuther ran a 1:50.05 personal best for fifth.

Girls' 400m final report - Donetsk 2013


Great Britain’s Sabrina Bakare smashed her 400m lifetime best for the second time in two days, flying to a 52.77 victory over the USA’s pre-event favourite, Olivia Baker (53.38).

The 17-year-old enjoyed a strong start and overhauled both Baker and Jamaica’s Tiffany James in the final 50 metres to clinch Britain’s first ever medal in this event during the 14-year history of this championship.

She gave an indication of her form when speeding to a 53.23 clocking to lead the semi-final qualification, yet Baker was still the marginal favourite for the gold medal, having registered 52.71 earlier this summer.

In claiming silver, the 17-year-old followed the USA’s fine tradition in this event, with the nation having claimed victory four times in the eight editions of this championship.  

James meanwhile, was timed at 53.56 in the bronze medal position to take the Caribbean island’s third medal in this event. 

In fourth, Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Oanh clocked a 53.80 personal best with Nigeria’s Edidiong Ofonime Odiong finishing fifth in a 54.14 lifetime best.

Girls' 200m final report - Donetsk 2013


Sweden’s Irene Ekelund stormed to a 22.92 lifetime best and championship record to more than make amends for finishing fifth in the 100m final in Donetsk, Ukraine last Thursday (11).

The 17-year-old claimed her nation’s first ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship, en route to shooting to the top of the world youth list and eighth on the all-time rankings.

Following another impressive world youth-leading 23.02 in the semi-final stage on Saturday (13), the Swede captured gold courtesy of a strong start and an inspired home-straight acceleration.

Clocking a 23.13 personal best, Angela Tenorio claimed Ecuador’s first ever medal in this event during the eight editions of this championship.

The 17-year-old’s silver medal over the half-lap follows her bronze in the 100m three days ago.

The pre-event favourite for both the 100m and 200m, USA’s Ariana Washington was disappointed to miss out on the gold again – following her third place finish in the 100m – as she came home in 23.20 to take the bronze medal.

The 16-year-old ran a 23.18 lifetime best in May but struggled to live up to expectations this week.

Nevertheless, her medal represents USA’s eighth medal in this event in this championship dating back to 1999 with two gold, three silver and now three bronze medals in their collection.

Further back in fourth, Washington’s team-mate, Hannah Cunliffe recorded a 23.44 personal best, whilst Germany’s Gina Luckenkemper finished fifth in 23.53.

Boys' 200m final report - Donetsk 2013


Jamaica’s Michael O’Hara gained redemption for finishing outside of the 100m medals on Thursday (11) by scorching to a 20.63 world youth lead and a narrow victory.

In the process, the 16-year-old emulated six-time Olympic sprint champion and triple world record-holder Usain Bolt, with his idol having won this event in Sherbrooke, 2003 with a 20.40 clocking.  

Flying to ninth on the all-time list, O’Hara – three days after finishing fourth in the 100m with 10.46 – has this year improved dramatically from 21.51 and today claimed Jamaica’s third 200m gold medal in the eight editions of this championship.

Meanwhile, in the silver medal position, Brazil’s Vitor Hugo Dos Santos recorded a 20.67 personal best, making up for having placed sixth in the 100m.

The 17-year-old has improved from 21.43 this season as his silverware in Donestk, Ukraine is Brazil’s first ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship.

Cuba’s Reynier Mena took his second bronze medal of this championship, clocking 20.79 to snatch third.

The 16-year-old, who ran a 10.37 personal best in the 100km final, takes Cuba’s second medal in this event following
Jorge Vacarel’s silver in Marrakech, 2005.

Great Britain’s Thomas Somers ran a 20.84 lifetime best for fourth place after already reducing his best to 21.05 in the semi-final stage, as Trinidad’s Jonathan Farinha finished fifth with 21.00 personal best. 

Girls' 100m final report - Donetsk 2013


USA’s Ky Westbrook claimed a surprise 100m victory over the pre-final favourite and teammate Ariana Washington, clocking a fine 11.33 lifetime best ahead of her compatriot’s 11.40 for the silver medal.

Westbrook’s victory provided her nation’s first gold medal in Donetsk following the 17-year-old’s gradual progression in Ukraine, having registered 11.59 and 11.52 in the qualifying round and semi-final stage. 

Her winning performance also represented the USA’s fifth title in this event over the eight editions of these championships and follows in the footsteps of Olympic 200m champion, Alyson Felix - the 2001 winner in Debrecen with 11.57.

For Washington, who has improved to 11.39 this year as well as a wind-assisted 11.18 at altitude, her silver medal was achieved in an extremely close-call with Ecuador’s Angela Tenorio who clocked 11.41 for the bronze, clinching her nation’s first ever medal in this discipline in the 14-year history of the World youth event.

The 17-year-old, who recently ran 11.30 finished clear of Poland’s 16-year-old Ewa Swoboda (11.61) and Sweden’s Irene Ekelund (11.62) who placed fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Boys' 100m final report - Donetsk 2013


Youshidie Mo scorched to a 10.35 World youth-leading time* in taking a dramatic 100m final from Great Britain’s Ojie Edoburun, who clocked the same time in a nail-biting finish.

The 17-year-old Chinaman sprinted clear in the dying yards following a strong start and timed his dip-finish to perfection to clinch his nation’s first ever medal in this event in these championships.

Having clocked 10.44 behind Cuba’s Reynier Mena in the semi-final, Mo narrowly improved Kristoffer Hari’s World youth best by two one-hundredths of a second, as Edoburun too enjoyed setting a lifetime best.

The 17-year-old Edoburun follows a long line of successful British sprinters at this event, with Mark Lewis-Francis winning in Bygoszcz, 1999, Alex Nelson taking silver in Marrakech, 2005 and Craig Pickering claiming bronze in Sherbrooke, 2003.

Mena, meanwhile, clocked a 10.37 personal best for bronze to claim Cuba’s first medal in this discipline at these championships, as the 16-year-old finished clear of Jamaica’s Michael O’Hara (10.46) in fourth and Barbados’ Mario Burke (10.51) in fifth, respectively.

*Subject to the usual ratification procedures.

Hinriksdottir Hoping to Create History


Iceland have never won a medal in the 14-year history of these championships but Anita Hinriksdottir is hoping to change that statistic in the 800m this Sunday (14) in Donetsk, Ukraine.

The 17-year-old qualified fastest from today’s (11) first round with a dominant front-running 2:04.79 display and is in confident mood ahead of tomorrow’s (12) semi-final.

Boasting the second fastest time of the year courtesy of her 2:00.49 lifetime best and Icelandic national record set in Germany last month, Hinriksdottir will not have the World youth leader to contend with as America’s Mary Cain is absent – the 1:59.51 runner preferring to concentrate on the IAAF World Championships in Moscow next month.

Nevertheless, the 2012 World Junior Championship fourth place finisher is not resting on her laurels:

“I don’t want to finish outside of the medals again,” she explained. “The Ethiopians (Kobeb Tesfaye and Dureti Edao) are strong and there’s the Australian girl (Georgia Wassall), all of us want to get to the final.”

A semi-finalist at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg in February and recent 1500m winner of the European Team Championships in Gateshead, Hinriksdottir continued:

“I want to set a personal best. It’s a very strong competition but hopefully I can win, I think it will take a personal record (to win).

“It would be very nice to get Iceland’s first medal and I think I can go sub-two minutes but maybe not this year.

“I’m very much enjoying my time here - it’s very fun meeting foreign athletes.”

Coached by Gunnar Paul Joakimsson, Hinriksdottir is also following in family tradition as her aunt, Martha Ernstodttir finished 45th in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games marathon.

“She inspired me to get into athletics and I’m proud of her,” Hinriksdottir revealed. And she too must be proud of her niece.

Washington out for Redemption


Having been forced to concede defeat to her American team-mate, Ky Westbrook in the 100m final yesterday (11), 16-year-old Ariana Washington is fuelled with extra motivation to claim the 200m crown in Donetsk, Ukraine this weekend.

Little over 12 hours after her 11.40 silver medal-winning performance, the former basketball player cruised through to Saturday’s (13) semi-final stage in a comfortable 23.72.  

With a best of 23.18 this season, Washington is determined to seek redemption by taking the half-lap crown on Sunday (14) evening despite her hectic racing schedule:

“I want gold, nothing less,” she explained, “This (the 200m) is my baby, I’ve nurtured it, I’ve taken care of it and it’s what I’ve raced the most so I expect nothing less than gold.

“I’m extra hungry for it after not getting my gold last night so I’m going for it on Sunday.”

On whether she thinks she will need to go close to low-23 seconds and her closest challenger, Washington continued:

“It won’t take a PB to get the gold and my team-mate, Hannah (Cunliffe) will probably be right beside me, battling right to the finish-line.”

Despite Westbrook not contesting the 200m event, Washington will still have some tough competition in the form of Sweden’s Irene Ekelund, Great Britain’s Shannon Hylton and Ecuador’s Angela Tenorio and is pacing herself after her exploits last night:

“It felt really slow, I was trying to get off the curve first and just drive home, not pushing it to save as much energy as possible,” she said after her 200m first round heat.

“Last night was so chaotic after the race – all the cameras, the flag and drug testing so it was good to conserve some energy now and breathe. I only got a little sleep last night.”

“I’m tired but that’s what this was about – recovery, getting through to the next round with ease. I know when to give it my all so I’m just building up to that now.”
With her confidence still intact after losing the race many predicted she would win, Washington was gracious in defeat:

“That wasn’t my best race but I gave it my all and silver is still great,” she explained.

“I’m happy and my team-mate got gold so the US going 1-2 is all that matters. I had faith in Ky, she’s a really great runner so congrats to her.”

Eager to follow in the illustrious footsteps of her role model, Olympic 200m champion Alyson Felix who took the 100m World youth crown in Debrecen, 2001, Washington revealed:

“We both come from California and she’s opened doors in what she’s achieved and now I can’t wait to walk through those doors after her.

“I copy her technique and I hope to achieve what she has.”

Baker Hoping to Follow in Hastings’ Footsteps


Ten years ago, American Natasha Hastings claimed the World youth 400m title in Sherbrooke, Canada and now the 26-year-old is tipped to win a medal at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow next month, having made quite an impression on her young pretender, Olivia Baker who is currently on track to replicate her role model’s success in winning the one-lap event in Donetsk, Ukraine this week.

The 17-year-old from New Jersey leads the world youth list with a 52.71 personal best set en route to claiming the national title in Illinois last month and cruised through the first round with a 54.41 winning heat today (10) at the
IAAF World Youth Championships.

Coached by Lisa Morgan and with her parents in the stadium for support, Baker will next contest the semi-final stage on Thursday (11) ahead of her quest for gold in Friday’s (12) final.

Although not previously aware of Hastings’ win a decade ago, Baker is a follower of her results and hopes to follow in her countrywoman’s footsteps into the junior and senior ranks – with Hastings having taken the World junior crown in 2004 and the World indoor title in 2012.

“I’ve seen several winners here go onto run well at the juniors and then do well as a senior so I do see this as a first step to getting there,” she explained.

“I met Natasha at the New Balance Games during the indoor season and she took a picture with me. I don’t think she knew how well I’d been running at the time but we talked a little bit.”

Having improved from 53.48 in 2012, Baker revealed her thoughts on her debut international championship:

“This has always been a dream of mine, just to be able to run here is so great - I’m living my dream.

“I’m enjoying the experience a lot. I’ve been looking towards this moment since freshman year and now I don’t want to waste this opportunity – I want to go out there and give my best, at least run a personal best.

“I’m hoping for the gold but anything can happen – I don’t take for granted that I’m number one right now because anyone could run a personal best on any given day and take my spot. I think it will take a personal best for me to win.”

Despite enduring a packed racing schedule in her 2013 campaign, Baker insisted she and coach Morgan have timed her peak to perfection:

“I still feel fresh and I feel like I’m peaking at the right time,” she explained, “I’m living the dream and say thanks to God for blessing me and helping me to be here.

“Winning the gold would be a dream come true and the perfect end to my season.”

Refusing to highlight her fiercest competitors for gold, Baker continued:

“Literally anyone could come up and beat me on any given day so I don’t focus on any specific people - I look at the field as a whole, look at myself and focus on executing my race to run the time.”

And when asked on whether she’d prefer to take victory or a lifetime best, the confident American simply replied “I rather have both.”

IAAF World Youth Championships - pre-event press conference, girls' highlights.


Favourite for the 100m and 200m crown with 23.18 and 11.18w times to her name this season, 16-year-old Ariana Washington (USA) explained her relief of joining the competitive American team in Donetsk:

“This season, I’ve been top in both events but I had a tough time at the trials so I’m here to prove I’m the fastest female teenager on the planet.”

On her first love, basketball, Washington continued:

“My high school was really into it and my coach said I should also try out track - I stuck with it and found my god-given talent.”

On her role model, Olympic 200m champion Alyson Felix, Washington revealed:

“We both come from California and she’s opened doors in what she’s achieved and now I can’t wait to walk through those doors after her. I copy her technique and I hope to achieve what she has.”

Sixteen-year-old Morgan Lake (GBR), the World Youth leader in the heptathlon with a 5,725 score explained her inspiration behind hoping to claim her first international medal here in Donetsk:

“Seeing Jess (Ennis-Hill, the Olympic heptathlon champion from Great Britain) at the Olympics was amazing, she was really inspirational and I’m trying to be like her.

“She didn’t win the World Youth title but I hope I can win here and be like her one day.”

On her love of athletics and how she found the sport, Lake continued:

“The high jump’s my favourite and my strongest event and the 800m’s probably my hardest – it’s not anyone’s favourite.

“Athletics has always been there for me, I was about six months old when I saw my first competition and I did my first training at five years old (later winning her first national title at aged 11). I enjoy watching all events but I particularly like the high and long jump, and of course the heptathlon.”

On her preparation for the event and another role model, Katarina Johnson-Thompson whose national youth record Lake broke earlier this season, she revealed:

“The competition I did the day before we flew out was not the best preparation and best for confidence but I jumped well. Although I was upset and nervous afterwards, it’s best to get it out of the way before this competition. Also, losing my bag at the airport was not ideal but we bought some things from the local supermarket so I’m ok.

“I spoke to Katarina about two years ago but not recently, I hope to speak to her about our event soon.” 

Fifteen-year-old Robeilys Peinado (VEN), the World Youth leader in the pole vault with a 4.35m best this season, explained how she switched sports to find more success:

“I came to athletics three years ago after doing gymnastics. I was too tall to be a gymnast so I switched to the pole vault. I like being in the air and I feel I can be successful.”

On her role model, pole vault world record-holder Sergey Bubka who comes from Donetsk, Peinado continued:

“We take Sergey Bubka as our example, taking his technique and replicating his style so I hope to be as successful as he was.”

On her female inspirations, she concluded:

“Aside from Sergey, I look up to Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia’s world record-holder), Fabiana Murer (Brazil’s world champion) and Angelica Bengtsson (Sweden’s world junior champion).”