The starting signal to the World Youth Championship will fall for 1300 athletes from 180 nations and five continents in less than a week. This is the highest number of participants for any WYC so far. Austria will be represented by seven athletes. The farmer’s boy Lukas Weißhaidinger from Taufkirchen in Upper Austria might win the first WYC medal for the Austrian Athletics Federation.
Austria, situated in the hearts of the Alps, has had its challenges to assert itself in the world of international athletics. A medal in both the U18 WCs (best so far a 7th rank) and U20 WCs (4th rank) has proven elusive. But things could change at the sixth WYC taking place in Bressanone/Brixen in South Tyrol just 47km south of the Austrian border between July 8th and 12th.
Lukas Weißhaidinger has the best odds among the 7-member strong delegation from Austria. The 17-year-old youngster has built his strength growing up on a farm in Taufkirchen in Upper Austria. Weißhaidinger produced this year’s third best performance in the discus throw (1.5kg) and is sixth in the shot put (5kg). He is 193cm tall and weighs 105kg.
“Lukas is the classic nature-boy and a gentle giant.” says Christian Röhrling, responsible coach for the Austrian Athletics Federation. “The results speak clearly. This day could be marked in the history of athletics in Austria.” But Mr. Röhrling deliberately did not mention the word “medal”.
Weißhaidinger will come to Bressanone/Brixen in company of his large fan club from his home town. The Austrian athlete is already acquainted with the renovated stadium as well having participated in the recently staged Brixia-Meeting. Winning the discus event with a personal best of 59.76m bodes well for next week.
Youth Austrian Team:
Kira GRÜNBERG (ATSV Innsbruck), Pole Vault 3.91m
Nicole TOBOLKA (ÖTB Salzburg LA), 100m Hurdles 14:13sec (+1.9)
Ivona DADIC (PSV Wels), Heptathlon 4845 Points
Lukas WEISSHAIDINGER (ÖTB OÖ), Shot-put (5kg) 19.81 m | Discus (1.5kg) 59.76m
Thomas PASTL (Zehnkampf Union), Pole Vault 4.60m
Manuel LEITNER (PSV Wels), Long Jump 7.12m
Sebastian KAPFERER (Innsbrucker AC Pharmador), Long Jump 7.27m | 110m Hurdles 14:28sec (-1.2)