Report Barcelona

Sweden’s on song Bengtsson on course to defend Pole Vault title – Barcelona 2012 – Day Three Morning report

Angelica Bengtsson - 4.58m in Sollentuna (DECA Text&Bild)Angelica Bengtsson - 4.58m in Sollentuna (DECA Text&Bild) © Copyright
World record holder Angelica Bengtsson took the first step to defending her Pole Vault title when the third day of the IAAF World Junior Championships began this morning on a very hot Barcelona morning.

Bengtsson aiming to match the achievement New Zealander shot putter Jacko Gill had celebrated the previous evening and repeat her victory from Moncton two years ago, had no problem in clearing the automatic qualifier for the final of 4.10m.

Along with Natalya Demidenko the Russian who finished third behind her in last year's European Junior Championships, she only entered the contest when the bar reached the automatic qualifying height.

That proved no problem for either of them as the pair along with six other athletes clearing 4.10m, automatically clinched their places into Saturday's final where the Swede is expected to make an assault on her World record of 4.63m.

Kira Grunberg was rewarded for her persistence when raising the Austrian record on her second attempt to 4.05m to earn a place on count-back ahead of Italy's Sonia Malavisi and Russia's Kristina Bondarenko.

"I am satisfied that I did not fault," said Bengtsson. "It was a comfortable competition for me. Only the swirling wind was a problem."

World 100m champion Strachan back on track

Anthonique Strachan the women's 100 metres champion was quickly back into action aiming to match the 200m victory four years ago of fellow Bahamian sprinter Sheniqua Ferguson.

Strachan now fully fit after a short period of injuries, took her qualifier for the semi-finals in 23.70 ahead of Brazil's Tamiriz De Liz the 100m bronze medallist who clocked 24.02.

Turkey's Nimet Karakus also thirsting for another medal after her runner up spot in the 100m, also went through automatically when second in her heat 0.06 behind Ghana's Janet Amponsah with a time of 23.89.

In the last and fastest heat of the round Jamaica's Shericka Jackson last year's World Youth bronze medallist, mustered a season's best of 23.35 with Isidora Jiminez in her slipstream claiming a Chilean record of 23.42.

The USA's Dezerea Bryant who missed out on a 100m final place after a photo finish with Khamica Bingham of Canada was next fastest. The World Number 3 clocked 23.54.

World 200m leader Tyreek Hill after being edged by Odean Skeen for the 100m bronze medal by 0.01 in the previous night's final made a perfect start over the longer distance.

Hill who has a 20.14 clocking under his belt this summer may have been one of the slowest qualifiers for the semi-finals, but he sensibly conserved energy and operated at minimum capacity when sauntering to a 21.29 victory.

His fellow American Aaron Ernest who claimed the 100m silver behind Adam Gemili - the Briton is not competing in the 200 preferring to concentrate on the 4x100 relay - also produced a fairly effortless 21.01 win.

Last year's European junior champion David Bolarinwa and Teray Smith showed a little more competitiveness than really required, the Briton winning in 20.78 as his Bahamian rival clocked a PB 20.79.

However it was Delano Williams from the Turks and Caicos Islands, a very small British Protectorate in the West Indies, who posted the fastest time of the round. The World N.3 recorded 20.66 which dragged Zharnel Hughes to an Anguillan National record of 20.90.

Felix Franz took his 400m Hurdles semi-final much more seriously after his third place in the heats when clinching it in a time of 50.66 not short of his season's best of 50.48.

But the German who steered Japan's Takahiro Matsumoto to equalling his lifetime fastest time of 50.76, was quickly outshone in the next heat where James Gallimore threw the final wide open.

The Jamaican lying eighth in the World rankings before the semis, improved his PB of 50.83 to an excellent 50.45 with behind Russia's Timofey Challyy gaining a PB 50.80.

Following the pair Greg Coleman who had posted the quickest time of 50.95 in the qualifiers was never a contender. The American losing his stride pattern could manage a clocking of only 51.12.

Slovenia's Mitja Lindic again ran a PB of 50.81 just 0.04 behind the USA's Eric Futch in the final semi, with Finn Oskari Moro (50.89SB) and Ibrahim Saleh (PB51.11) from Franz's race going through as fastest qualifiers.

Kubra Sesli may have posted the fastest time in the women's 400m Hurdles qualifying round of 58.01 but World leader Janieve Russell looked the class act of those moving into the semi-finals.

Russell who ran 57.04 in Jamaica's National Stadium in Kingston - the venue of the 2002 IAAF World Championships - led from the first hurdle and gradually extended the distance between her and the rest of the field.

The 19-year-old's lead saw her decelerate from a canter to a jog down the home straight to win ahead of Poland's Agnieszka Karczmarczyk by 0.74 with a time of 58.57.

Sesli operating much closer to her PB57.49 posted the fastest mark of the round with a time of 58.01 as runner up Vilde Svortevik of Norway lowered her PB to 58.46.

Javelin casualty

There was a disaster in the men's javelin qualifier when the USA's World No3 Sean Keller despite having three valid throws failed to make it through to the final throwing only 66.33m compared to his season's best of 77.12m.

But the two heavies and expected gold medal candidates Keshorn Walcott and Braian Toledo with season's bests of 82.83m and 79.73m only needed one appearance on the runway to qualify with the efforts of 74.17m and 72.48m.

Luke Cann however had the furthest the throw winging his spear out to 74.54m. He and fellow Australian William White (73.55m) clearly demonstrated they are in shape to challenge for a podium finish.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson rather than compete in her specialty Heptathlon where she will represent Great Britain at next month's Olympic Games, opted for appearances in the 100m Hurdles and Long Jump.

Johnson-Thompson made a perfect start in the field when with her second qualifying attempt for the final, she achieved a long jump personal best of 6.51m - five centimetres further than she has cleared before.

That would have been the leader in the competition but for Romania's World Number 3 Alina Rotaru posting a windy (+2.1m/s) 6.58m, a centimetre further than her best ever legal jump.

Jazmin Sawyer this year's leader with 6.64m needed just her initial attempt to make the final. The Briton cleared 6.33m - three centimetres further than the 6.30m qualifying mark.

David Martin for the IAAF