Monaco, May 30, 2016: With 50 days to go to the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016, many of the world’s most talented teenage athletes are already showing their credentials to be considered as potential medal contenders when the Polish city stages the event between 19-24 July.
Konrad Bukowiecki is the overwhelming favourite to take the shot put gold on home soil and is guaranteed huge support from the local crowd.
The Pole has already put the 6kg implement 22.94m earlier this month, just six centimetres short of the world U20 record, and is almost three metres better than anyone else so far this season.
Even more impressively, the 19-year-old from Szczytno sent the senior shot out to a world U20 best of 21.01m at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, 10 days ago.
THRILLING POLE VAULT EXPECTED
Greek pole vaulter Emmanouil Karalis was another athlete expected to be in Bydgoszcz who impressed in Ostrava, clearing a world U18 best of 5.55m.
However, Karalis is likely to face some tough rivals in a year of unusual depth in the U20 pole vault ranks.
USA’s Chris Nilsen has cleared 5.60m while Sweden’s Armand Duplantis, the IAAF World U18 Championships Cali 2015 winner, went over 5.49m indoors and has twice gone over 5.40m outdoors this summer.
Another world U18 best this month came from another Cali gold medallist, Cuban long jumper Maykel Masso, who leapt 8.28m in Havana on Saturday, a mark which also propels him to equal-third on the U20 all-time list.
On the track there have been outstanding world-leading U20 marks from Saudi Arabian sprinter Abdullah Abkar Mohammed, who has clocked 10.04 for the 100m, to go equal-seventh on the U20 all-time list, while Ethiopia’s Abadi Embaye was fourth in the 5000m at the IAAF Diamond League in Shanghai in 13:02.49.
SWOBODA SET TO MAKE HOME CROWD SWOON
On the women’s side, there is another huge home favourite in the shape of sprinter Ewa Swoboda, who set a world indoor U20 60m record of 7.07 in February and already leads the 2016 100m lists with the 11.18 she ran in Austria last week.
In the 200m, USA’s Kaylin Whitney is still young enough to defend the title she won in Eugene two years ago and showed that she’s in good form with a time of 22.84 last month, but she’s one of no less than seven U20 women who have broken 23 seconds already this year, led by Barbados’ Sada Williams who has run 22.61.
Ethiopia has two outstanding teenage middle-distance runners, Habitam Alemu and Gudaf Tsegay, who have run 800m and 1500m list-leading times of 1:59.14 and 4:00.18, marks which have also propelled them into the all-time U20 top 20 of their disciplines.
Like with the men, several women who won in Cali will be hoping to add to their medal collection, and perhaps climb to the top of the podium, none more so than Japanese javelin thrower Haruka Kitaguchi, who threw a national U20 record of 61.38m at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Kawasaki earlier this month.
All-in-all the performances of the world’s top U20 athletes so far in 2016 suggest that the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 will be one of the best ever championships in this category, and there is another 50 days for the best of the rest to also get in shape. —- IAAF
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