STARS OF 2018
Meet the super eight breakthrough athletes of the moment who are making an impact on the global track and field scene
MEET THE EIGHT SUPERTALENTED NEWCOMERS WHO ARE MAKING A HUGE IMPACT LATELY ON THE GLOBAL SCENE
ONLY 19, long jumper Juan Miguel Echevarría has been the stand-out breakthrough star of 2018 so far. First he won the world indoor title in Birmingham. Then he soared out to the longest jump in 23 years with a marginally wind-assisted leap of 8.83m in Stockholm this month.
The Cuban almost jumped out of the pit and his result spawned a flurry of memes and gifs on social media that show him, for example, zooming through outer space after taking off from the board.
Only Carl Lewis, Bob Beamon and world recordholder Mike Powell have jumped further, plus fellow Cuban and mentor Ivan Pedroso, who registered an 8.96m mark in 1995 which was disallowed due to interference with the wind gauge.
Echevarría’s big jump in Stockholm was helped with a 2.1m/sec tailwind but a few days later in Ostrava he jumped a wind-legal 8.66m – the best jump in the world for nine years.
His coach, Daniel Osorio, believes he can break Powell’s long-standing record of 8.95m and the athlete also thinks he can do it in the right conditions.
Until this year, Luvo Manyonga was the No.1 in the event. The South African won the world title in London last year as Echevarría failed by five centimetres to make the final.
But at the World Indoors the Cuban went into the lead in the first round and kept his cool as Manyonga twice overtook him before he secured gold with 8.46m.
Prior to this, Echevarría was a good but not outstanding junior. He jumped 8.05m aged 16 but finished outside the medals at the 2015 World Youth Championships. Then, in 2016, he was 10cm short of a medal at the World Under-20 Championships.
The boy from Camagüey has truly found his form in 2018, though, as he has emerged as one of the biggest names of the season.
Event: Long jump Nation: Cuba
Age: 19 PB: 8.66m