Lille, FranceIn the first track final of the 7th IAAF World Youth Championships and the final event of the evening session Ethiopian Gotytom Gebreslase scored a dramatic 3000m victory with the fastest time in the world this year to highlight the first day’s action in Lille.
The 16-year-old who set her previous best of 16:09.09 at high altitude in her capital city of Addis Ababa on 8 May produced a searing finish to outpace Ziporah Wanjiru Kingori of Kenya by 0.46 in a time of 8:56.36.
Both the gold and silver medallists and Kenya's Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui who along with them ran the fastest time of her life of 8:58.63 produced a phenomenal last lap to catch Russia's Alena Kudashkina.
The field set off very quickly with the Japanese pair of Katsuki Suga and Tomoka Kimura pushing it along for the first kilometre (2:58.83) on a Championship record schedule, but then it slowed dramatically.
That allowed the African contestants plus Kudashkina to close a 15 metre gap until Kudashkina who came to the venue with a PB of 9:13.79 galloped into the lead coming down the home straight and with two laps to run.
She astonishingly opened up a lead of around 25 metres and entering the last lap it seemed she would become the first non-African ever to lift the title. But the 17-year-old had no response when her rivals flew down the backstraight and coming onto the final bend passed her on the crown with Kingori in the driving seat from Gebreslase and a fading Kipkirui.
The Ethiopian then went into overdrive to come alongside her Kenyan rival in the last 20m and pip Kingori to become the first ever champion from her nation.
Dacres wins with new world leading discus mark
Fedrick Dacres won the discus gold medal in true Championships style when with his very last attempt he raised his world lead of 66.42m to a new lifetime best of 67.05m.
"I haven't got words to describe my emotion," said Dacres, eager to build his career even further. "I'm sure it's a great experience for the future."
The Jamaican, who opened his competition by going ahead and throwing 63.67m, then had efforts of 62.05m, 63.3.37m, 64.52m, a foul and finally his monster winning effort.
Behind him Ethan Cochran of the USA, improving his PB from 58.16m to 61.37m with his third attempt took silver from South Africa's Gerhard De Beer whose lifetime furthest of 60.63m in round five, snatched him third place ahead of Colombia's Mauricio Ortega.
Guo blows away opposition with only 15 metre-plus throws
Tianqian Guo winning the first gold medal of this year's Championships dominated the Shot Put when the only competitor to better 15 metres.
Guo herself was well short of the world lead of 16.45m which she achieved at the beginning of June but nevertheless she towered over her rivals to become the third Chinese champion after Hong Mei in 1999 and Jiang Limin six years ago.
She started with a foul but hit the front in round two throwing 15.07m followed by what proved to be her winner of 15.24m with her next attempt.
"I'm very happy to get this award," said Guo making her first appearance outside of China."I was not nervous at all during the competition, I was quite relaxed. I cherish very much this opportunity to compete in France and my coach is very satisfied with my performance."
Great Britain's Sophie McKinna after moving second with an effort of 14.79m also in round 2 then improved to 14.90 with her fourth attempt to gain the silver medal.
Katinka Urbaniak whose sister Lena triumphed in the event two years ago in Bressanone cleared 14.69m in round three before dropping out of the podium three but adding another two centimetres in the fifth clinched third position.
Kenyans looking to claim 2000m Steeplechase title No. 6
Gilbert Kiplangat Kirui and Conseslus Kipruto laid down the gauntlet to their rivals when beginning their bid to ensure Kenya win a another 2000 Steeplechase title to add to the five they have collected in the previous six Championships.
Kirui the World Number 2 was first to show his dominating credentials when after running the first lap in the pack hit the front after 400m and by the end of the second circuit enjoyed a lead of five seconds from Zacharia Kiprotich of Uganda.
He then went through the first kilometre in 2:41.49 and surprisingly slowed in the second to cross the line in 5:34.98 but still finished well clear of Morocco's Jaouad Chemlal who clocked a season's best of 5:45.91 with Kiprotich doing likewise in 5:46.66.
"My time is excellent but it was very difficult for me because I was alone early in this race," said Kirui who set his personal best of 5:30.00 at altitude in Nairobi on 8 June.
Conseslus Kipruto's tactics were slightly different as he led from start-to-finish and after passing the first kilometre in 2:41.49 went on to win in 5:31.27. Mohammed Al Barakati of Saudi Arabia and Great Britain's Zak Seddon behind this year's world leader set personal bests of 5:43.00 and 5:46.90.
Kipruto forecasting another one-two which has happened on three previous occasions, said: "It was a nice race. We are two Kenyan's in the final so our goal is to win two medals."
Hall leads 400m qualifiers
Arman Hall, the world leader and despite the setback of finishing only third at the USA Youth Track and Field Championships, duly posted the fastest 400m time of the seven qualifying races.
The American who ran 46.22 in Florida at the beginning of May produced an effortless performance when coasting around the Lille Metropole track in 46.76 - the only sub-47 clocking of the heats - the next fastest being Jarryd Buchan who beat Takuya Fukunaga as the pair both set PBs of 47.12 and 47.24.
Behind the Australian and Japanese pair was Alphas Leken Kishoyian, the Youth Olympic 400m bronze winner who with qualification assured was happy to reserve some energy for tomorrow night's semi finals.
Kenya's Eastern Africa 400 silver medallist is the man Hall's teammate Najee Glass who won his heat in 47.92 believes will pose the biggest threat to them clinching the USA's first ever 400 gold medal at the Championships.
Glass said: "Armin Hall is a friend. We want to beat Kishoyian. It's our goal," although Sadam Suliman Koumi of Sudan currently ranked fourth in the world and a heat winner in 47.59 will also be another African threat.
Saleh sharp and fastest but the 400m hurdles looks wide open
Ibrahim Mohammed Saleh, now the third fastest 400m hurdler in the world this season, must fancy his chances of emulating fellow Saudi athlete Mohammed Daak who claimed the gold medal in Marrakech six years ago.
Saleh who finished ahead of Omar McLeod who is a place behind him in the world rankings by just 0.02 in 51.71 as he and the Jamaican set personal bests, knows the semi finals and final over the next two days will prove a great challenge.
The heats saw his fellow countryman Yahya Ibrahim, who finished ahead of Jonathan Russell by 0.01sec in 51.93sec as they also ran lifetime bests, clearly indicate they have the ability to go faster and quite rightly be considered candidates for the title.
Nikolova fastest in 100 but Williams looks the part
Galina Nikolova set the standard for the eight 100m heats when driving out of her blocks she cut 0.02 from her personal best and posting the fastest time of the evening session of 11.65.
But despite her groundbreaking performance with a healthy wind of +1.7ms behind her, it was world leader Christania Williams who had plenty in reserve when crossing the finish line in 11.66.
Williams, barring an accident, seems to be fully equipped to become Jamaica's first title winner since Olympic 200 gold medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown triumphed at the first Championships in Bydgoszcz 11 years previously.
Hailey always in control and posts fastest mark
Nnenya Hailey, the fastest entrant in the 400m hurdles with world leader Ann Nwaogu of Nigeria an absentee, just missed her PB by 0.08 when winning her heat in 58.07.
The American was always in control of her race where five other contestants dipped under the one minute barrier including Sarah Carli.
The Australian doing it for the first time ever in a close encounter defeated Trinidad's Kernesha Spann by 0.90 with a time of 59.06.
"It's wonderful, less than one minute for the first time in my life," said the 16-year-old, well aware fellow Aussie Jana Pittman was the first ever champion in 1999. "Now I want to run faster. It's possible."
Tomorrow morning's semi finals should give a better indication of the likely medallists although Hailey both on paper and her latest performance will start favourite.
Sagnia improves world triple jump lead
Youth Olympic gold medallist Khaddi Sagnia of Sweden improved the world Triple Jump lead and her personal best of 13.52m she set in Sollentuna, Sweden, on 22 June with an excellent clearance of 13.64m to lay down her credentials for another global title in Friday's final.
"It's fantastic to do this performance now," said the 17-year admitting to feeling a little pressure. "My goal is to win the gold medal. It's difficult to be the favourite."
Sokhna Galle delighted French fans when raising her PB by eight centimetres to 13.42m while Jingyu Li number three on the World list was behind the pair with a last gasp third round effort of 13.11m.
Hussong sets new PB and world's furthest javelin throw of the year
Christin Hussong needed only one throw to qualify for the javelin final tomorrow night when with the best effort of her life she winged her implement out to a new world lead of 56.76m.
The German's eyeballs out throw saw her hold a healthy advantage over France's Alexie Alais who in the last round threw a national youth record of 53.54m while Sweden's Sofi Flinck was third with an opener of 50.68.
The USA's Haley Crouser also needed one attempt to achieve the qualifier of 50.00m with 50.60m as only that quartet made the requisite distance of the 12 who advanced to the final by right.
Stein overnight leader in Octathlon
Jake Stein left the stadium as overnight leader in the Octathlon after increasing his lead when over 400m clocking 51.32 in the fourth and final discipline of the day ahead of Evgeniy Likhanov and Jan Schenk.
The Australian had a total of 3296 points which led his Russian rival whose time was 51.81 by 156 points with Schenk of Germany who recorded 50.72 tallying 3121pts.
Earlier in the evening Stein, thanks to a 17.22m personal best Shot Put, took over the lead after three events from Likhanov who not renowned for his ability with the 5kg implement managed only 13.86m while Schenk throwing 14.80m went from fourth to third place, raised his score to 2339.
David Martin for the IAAF