Having been forced to concede defeat to her US team-mate Ky Westbrook in the 100m final on Thursday, 16-year-old Ariana Washington is fuelled with extra motivation to claim the 200m crown at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Little over 12 hours after her 11.40 silver medal-winning performance, Washington cruised through to Saturday's 200m semifinals with a comfortable 23.72 first-round win.
It was only the third fastest time of the morning but she didn’t need to go any faster to confirm her status as one of the favourites for the longer sprint.
“It felt really slow, I was trying to get off the curve first and just drive home, not pushing it to save as much energy as possible,” said the Long Beach native from California.
“Last night was so chaotic after the race – all the cameras, the flag and drug testing so it was good to conserve some energy now and breathe. I only got a little sleep last night.”
“I’m tired but that’s what this was about: recovery, getting through to the next round with ease. I know when to give it my all so I’m just building up to that now.”
With a best of 23.18 this season, Washington has put to one side any disappointment at failing to following the footsteps of her idol and role model Allyson Felix, who won the 100m title at these championships in 2001, and is now determined to seek redemption by taking the 200m crown on Sunday evening despite her hectic racing schedule.
“I want gold, nothing less,” she explained. “This (the 200m) is my baby, I’ve nurtured it, I’ve taken care of it and it’s what I’ve raced the most so I expect nothing less than gold
“I’m extra hungry for it after not getting my gold last night so I’m going for it on Sunday.
She thinks she will need to run close to 23 seconds to take the gold. The championship record is held by Cuba’s Aymee Martinez at 22.99 from 2005, though Sweden's Irene Ekelund came close to that mark in this morning's heats with 23.02.
Westbrook is not contesting the 200m but Washington will still have some tough competition in the form of Ekelund, Great Britain’s Shannon Hylton and Ecuador’s Angela Tenorio, the latter winning the 100m bronze medal behind the US pair.
“It might take a PB to get the gold and my team mate, Hannah (Cunliffe) will probably be right beside me, battling right to the finish-line.”
With her confidence still intact after losing the race many predicted she would win, Washington was gracious about her 100m defeat.
“That wasn’t my best race but I gave it my all and silver is still great,” she explained.
“I’m happy and my team mate got gold so the US going one-two is all that matters. I had faith in Ky, she’s a really great runner so congrats to her.”
On Sunday, the congratulations may be going in the other direction and Washington is also expected to link up with Westbrook as part of the US Medley Relay team which has won this event at the IAAF World Youth Championships on six of the past seven occasions.
However, they lost the title to Jamaica at the last edition in Lille two years ago as the Caribbean nation sped to a World youth best time of 2:03.42 and that event in Donetsk offers the opportunity of redemption for the US team as a whole.
Nicola Bamford for the IAAF