With nine finals, the Girls Heptathlon and qualification rounds on the track and in the field, the third afternoon session at the IAAF World Youth Championships here in Ostrava proved a very busy one.
17-year-old Legese Lamiso became the first ever Ethiopian runner to win a global Steeplechase title when he clocked a new World Youth leading time of 5:30.81 to win a superb gold medal. Lamiso finishing speed was no match for Silas Kosgei Kitum of Kenya who had to settle for silver in personal best 5:32.88.
From the gun, one could tell the race would be an African affair but it was expected that Kenya’s superiority at the event would remain unchallenged until a very determined Lamiso made his move to the front.
Morocco’s Abdellah Dacha out sprinted Jonathan Muia Ndiku, the second Kenyan in the race to claim bronze in yet another personal best 5:34.49. In total 8 out of 12 finalists improved on their personal records.
World Youth leader Geoffrey Kibet of Kenya executed the perfect race to win his country’s second gold medal of these Championships as he clocked 1:49.99 in the Boys 800m final.
The final stages of the race proved to be very exciting as all eight finalists entered the home straight virtually on the same line. Ethiopia’s Henok Tesfaye tripped the inside curb and was soon out of contention as Kibet sped away from Ali Al-Deraan of Saudi Arabia and Amine El Manaoui of Morocco the former claiming the silver medal by a mere two hundredths of a second.
Kenya made it a double celebration as Sammary Cherotich ran a personal best time of 4:15.47 to win the Girls’ 1500m ahead of American Jordan Hasay and team-mate Sheila Chepkirui Kiprotich.
Cherotich and Hasay took turns in the lead to ensure the pace was tough and soon it was them, Kiprotich and Ethiopia’s Bertukan Feyisa left in the leading pack. The Ethiopian faded when the trio kicked with 400 metres to go leaving Hasay with the hard task to counter the Kenyan charge.
In the final 200 metres, the blonde American managed to break away from Kiprotich and secured the silver medal in 4:17.24 but could not challenge Cherotich’s supremacy on the day.
World Youth lead in Girls High Jump
16-year-old Natalya Mamlina of Russia jumped a new World Youth leading performance 1.89m to win the Girls High Jump final although she had already secured the gold medal with her first time clearance at 1.84m.
Jamaica’s Misha-Gaye Dacosta whose PB stood at 1.80m coming into tonight’s final was the only other athlete to sail over that height today albeit with her second attempt and took an unexpected silver medal.
Aleksandrina Klimentinova (BUL) and Elena Vallortigara (ITA) tied for bronze at 1.81m as pre-event World Youth leader Kimberly Jess of Germany had a nightmare competition finishing in eighth with 1.78m.
Two gold medals for Ukraine
The Boys Hammer Throw final proved to be one of the highest quality competitions of the day with 29 out of 39 legal throws exceeding the 70 metres mark.
World Youth leader Andriy Martynyuk of Ukraine opened with a massive 76.09 metres which remained unmatched this afternoon. Martynyuk had another three legal throws and all landed beyond 73.88m!
The surprise of the day came from Hungary’s Daniel Szabo who improved his personal best by over two metres his fourth round effort landing at a silver medal winning distance of 75.30m. The bronze medal went to Germany courtesy of Richard Olbrich with 75.18m as Conor McCullough of the US had to settle for a very disappointing fourth after he had been the best qualifier yesterday.
Ukrainians had more to celebrate as minutes later Yuliya Baraley ran a very solid 53.57 to win the Girls 400m with half a second margin over fast finishing Latoya McDermott of Jamaica. In third Alexandra Stukova finished strong to claim bronze in 54.46 ahead of Olha Zemlyak (UKR).
Clarke dominates Boys’ 400m
The Boys one-lap race proved a more interesting final with World leader Christopher Clarke of Great Britain confirming his status and winning his country’s second gold of the competition with a 46.74 clocking.
Coming into the home straight, Russia’s Vladimir Krasnov was trailing Clarke and it looked as though these two would battle it out for the win but as Clarke sped away Krasnov was gradually being caught by Kirani James of Grenada and Jordan McGrath of Great Britain.
The best finisher, James struck his country’s first medal as he clocked a PB 46.96 for silver with Krasnov holding on to bronze 6 hundredths of a second faster than McGrath.
A gold for the USA too
17-year-old Dalilah Muhammad of the United States clocked 57.25 to win the Girls 400m Hurdles her surge in the final run-in making the difference over Romania’s Andreea Ionescu by just eight hundredths of a second.
Ionescu ran a very aggressive first part and entered the home straight well clear of Muhammad who was running on her outside but the tall Romanian messed up her steps as she approached the final hurdle and lost her lead. Despite a desperate attempt to recover her momentum, Ionescu had to settle for silver in 57.33, a new personal best.
One-Two for Japan in Boys Long Jump
It was somehow expected that the Boys Long Jump title would go to Japan although it came as a surprise that it went to Yasumichi Konishi. The 17-year-old prevailed over his more favoured compatriot Daisuke Yoshiyama whose 7.32m best effort was more than 30 centimetres off his World Youth Leading performance.
Konishi jumped a wind assisted 7.52m with his first attempt and remained unchallenged throughout. Christian Taylor of the US jumped a PB 7.29m for bronze in the poorest Long Jump final in the history of the competition.
Katerina Cachova of the Czech Republic has an overnight lead of 13 points over Germany’s Carolin Schäfer after four events in the Girls Heptathlon. Schäfer’s 12.20m effort in the Shot Put reduced the gap with early leader Cachova who could only put 10.81m.
The Shot Put proved to be an even worse event for Cachova’s team-mate Nikola Ogrodnikova who had three fouls and sunk way down to 22nd in the overall ranking ending the country’s legitimate hope of a double in the Girls combined events.
A huge Championship record and World Youth leading performance of 70.67m by Mykyta Nesterenko was the highlight in the Boys Discus Throw qualification rounds. The Ukrainian leads five other automatic qualifiers into tomorrow’s final. He is the outright favourite for gold as Marin Premeru of Croatia, the Shot Put silver medallist, the next best today lies a massive 12 metres adrift.
The South African pair of PC Beneke and Cornel Fredericks, the first and second fastest in the world this year respectively, easily advanced to tomorrow’s semi-final winning the first and last heat in the Boys’ 400m Hurdles with 52.05 and 52.48 respectively.
The fastest qualifier was Reginal Wyatt of the USA who ran impressively to lower his personal best to 51.69 while his compatriot William Wynne, a silver medallist in the 110m Hurdles yesterday, had the scare of the day as he could only finish third in his heat and had to wait and see if he could advance as one of the fastest losers.
His 53.41 eventually proved to be enough for the Atlanta based youngster but only just as the last qualifier was Saudi Arabia’s Adel Al-Nasser with 53.48.
Today’s programme also included the heats of the Girls 800m led by Romania’s Elena Lavric and the Boys 1500m with Spain’s David Bustos the fastest qualifier.
The major casualty in the Boys Pole Vault qualification was Japan’s Yu Miura who had a personal best of 5.01m coming to Ostrava but couldn’t go higher than 4.60m missing the cut for Sunday’s final on count-back.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF