WORLD U18 CHAMPS

LAST-EVER EDI­TION OF THE IAAF WORLD UN­DER-18 CHAM­PI­ONSHIPS IN KENYA PROVES A WELL-AT­TENDED AND EX­CIT­ING EVENT TO RE­MEM­BER

Athletics Weekly - - Content - PIC­TURES: GETTY IMAGES FOR IAAF

Big crowds turn out in Nairobi to see some of the best youth ath­letes on the planet com­pete

COUN­TRIES such as the United States and

Great Bri­tain who did not send teams to the IAAF World Un­der-18 Cham­pi­onships in Nairobi might have been rue­ing the de­ci­sion af­ter crowds of 50,000-60,000 in the sta­dium cre­ated a great at­mos­phere. Even the IAAF de­scribed it as ar­guably the best edi­tion of the cham­pi­onships in his­tory.

The event be­gan in 1999 and used to be known as the World Youth Cham­pi­onships. It has proved a spring­board in the past for ath­letes such as Usain Bolt, Va­lerie Adams and Allyson Felix, among oth­ers.

How­ever, a num­ber of ma­jor na­tions chose not send ath­letes to this month’s event for var­i­ous rea­sons. There will be no chance to com­pete in it in fu­ture, ei­ther, af­ter the IAAF de­cided last year that the 2017 event would be the fi­nal edi­tion.

The ath­letes who were in Nairobi, though, look to have had a ter­rific time in a sta­dium buzzing with at­mos­phere.

Some will un­doubt­edly go on to be­come Olympic medal­lists, while many will also dis­ap­pear or strug­gle to break through into se­nior ranks. All of them, though, will have great mem­o­ries of Nairobi for the rest of their lives.

High­lights from the cham­pi­onships in­cluded a world un­der-18 best in the men’s triple jump from Cuba’s Jor­dan Diaz with 17.30m.

Diaz im­proved his own PB by 64cm and beat the mark set by his com­pa­triot Lazaro Martinez in 2014 by 6cm.

Cuba en­joyed a good cham­pi­onships with suc­cess else­where. In the men’s long

jump, for ex­am­ple, Cubans Maikel Vi­dal and Lester Lescay placed one-two with Vi­dal win­ning with 7.88m.

Yaroslava Mahuchikh of Ukraine was also one of the most im­pres­sive ath­letes of the five-day meet­ing as she equalled the cham­pi­onships record in the women’s high jump with 1.92m.

In the men’s high jump, Brey­ton Poole was one of the small­est com­peti­tors but the South African took gold with 2.24m.

In the 100m hur­dles, Brit­tany An­der­son of Ja­maica clocked the fastest-ever time by an un­der-18 woman of 12.72 – al­beit as­sisted by an il­le­gal tail­wind of 4.1m/sec – as she beat Cyrena Samba-Mayela of France by eight hun­dredths of a se­cond.

The men’s 110m hur­dles was also fast, with De’Jour Rus­sell of Ja­maica set­ting a cham­pi­onships record of 13.04.

In the men’s 400m hur­dles, Zazini Sok­wakhana of South Africa won by al­most three se­conds with 49.27.

The par­ti­san Kenyan crowd had plenty to cheer when Jack­line Wam­bui and Ly­dia Jeruto La­gat made it a Kenyan one-two in the 800m, with Wam­bui run­ning 2:01.46.

“I feel great af­ter the race,” the win­ner told the IAAF. “Com­ing into the fi­nal, I was think­ing of noth­ing but a win.”

The men’s 2000m steeple­chase saw an­other Kenyan one-two from Leonard Kip­ke­moi Bett and Cleophas Kandie Meyan, with Bett run­ning 5:32.52.

There was a sim­i­lar Kenyan one-two in the women’s 2000m steeple­chase with Caren Che­bet clock­ing 6:24.80 to beat Mercy Chep­ku­rui.

Kenya also struck gold in the men’s 1500m from Ge­orge Manan­goi with 3:47.53.

Kenyans did not have it all their own way, though. In the 3000m, Sele­mon Barega struck gold for Ethiopia with 7:47.16.

Barega’s gold added to the Ethiopian vic­to­ries in the men’s 800m from Me­lese Nberet with 1:47.12, women’s 1500m thanks to Lem­lem Hailu in 4:20.80 and women’s 3000m cour­tesy of Abersh Min­sewo in 9:24.62.

In the sprints, Tshenolo Le­mao won the men’s 100m from fel­low South African Ret­shi­dis­itswe Mlenga, while in the 200m fi­nal the or­der was re­versed as Mlenga took gold in 21.03.

In the women’s 200m, mean­while, Talea Prepens of Ger­many took gold with 23.51. Only 15, Prepens won Ger­many’s first world un­der-18 ti­tle in a flat sprint event.

“Run­ning on such a big stage is a big ex­pe­ri­ence for me,” Prepens told the IAAF.

“I feel good hav­ing won a gold medal and I’m look­ing for­ward to more such op­por­tu­ni­ties in fu­ture.”

Barbora Ma­likova of the Czech Repub­lic took a clear win in the women’s 400m with 52.74, in a race which saw the top four all set­ting per­sonal bests, tak­ing her coun­try’s first ever medal in this event in the his­tory of the World Un­der-18 Cham­pi­onships.

The men’s 400m was a lit­tle closer, though, with Ja­maica’s An­to­nio Wat­son win­ning in 46.59.

In the throws, Cuba’s Marisleisys Duar­the won the women’s javelin with 62.92m, while Liu Zhekai of China took the men’s event with 77.54m.

Mykhaylo Kokhan of the Ukraine lived up to his billing as favourite in the men’s ham­mer to win with 82.31m

Timo Northoff won the men’s shot put ti­tle with 20.71m, help­ing his coun­try fin­ish top of the points ta­ble where one point is given for eighth place, through to eight points for a vic­tory.

“It’s been a great ex­pe­ri­ence,” Northoff told the IAAF. “I’ve learnt a lot and my work will be to im­prove again in the next com­pe­ti­tion. I’m ex­cited to bring the gold home.”

Selina Dant­zler made it a Ger­man dou­ble in the shot put, too, with women’s vic­tory af­ter a 17.64m throw.

The men’s 10,000m race walk saw Zhang Yao win

China’s first world un­der-18

ti­tle while Do­minic Ndig­iti earned Kenya’s first global cham­pi­onship medal in a race walk­ing event.

In the hep­tathlon, Maria Vi­cente of Spain beat Jo­hanna Seibler of Ger­many by just 10 points while Steven Fau­vel Clinch of France took the de­cathlon by a wider mar­gin.

One gi­ant leap: ath­letes tackle the wa­ter jump in the men’s 2000m steeple­chase

Brit­tany An­der­son: hur­dles suc­cess

Jor­dan Diaz: world un­der-18 best in

the triple jump

Jack­line Wam­bui: led home a Kenyan one-two in the 800m

Sele­mon Barega:

3000m vic­tory

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