16 JUL 2012 General News Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona 2012 – a dozen moments to delight

Adam Gemili of Great Britain wins his Men's 100 metres Final whereas Aaron Ernest (USA) is second, and Odean Skeen (JAM) has the third place on the day two of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona  (Getty Images)Adam Gemili of Great Britain wins his Men's 100 metres Final whereas Aaron Ernest (USA) is second, and Odean Skeen (JAM) has the third place on the day two of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona (Getty Images) © Copyright

IAAF correspondent Phil Minshull spent the past six days at the 14th edition of the IAAF World Junior Championships and has picked a dozen moments that delighted him and the rest of the athletics fans in the Montjuic Olympic Stadium.

Why a dozen? Well, with one world junior record (subject to ratification), 12 championship records, 10 area junior records, 30 world junior-leading marks for 2012 and no less than 86 national records, there were just too many good things to shoe-horn into a more conventional top 10.

There will be a broad consensus on many of the highlights listed below and there will probably be some debate about a few that have been left out.

Adam Gemili GBR - 100m
The 18-year-old sprinter blazed his way to a championship record of 10.05 to move up to sixth on the all-time junior list. He has been selected for the British team that will compete on home soil at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and there is huge anticipation to see whether he can become the first junior to run faster than 10 seconds. "I know what's being said but I'm just trying to keep my feet on the ground," said Gemili.

Nijel Amos BOT - 800m
Like Gemili, Amos has a world junior record in his sights and will also compete at the Olympics. Both men have been selected for their respective Olympic teams. Amos, fifth at last year's World Youth Championships, ran 1:43.11 in the German city of Mannheim last month to go second on the world junior all-time list and was close to that when he was an impressive winner over two laps of the track in a championship record of 1:43.79.

Conseslus Kipruto KEN - 3000m steeplechase
Paced by his compatriot Gilbert Kirui through the first two kilometres in 2:40.71 and then 5:25.12, Kipruto uncorked a 61-second last lap to take almost eight seconds off the previous championship record with 8:06.10 to go fourth on the junior all-time list. His win was Kenya's 13th consecutive 3000m steeplechase title at the World Junior Championships – they have won the event every time it has been contested – and he moved up to fourth on the junior all-time list for the event. But such is the Kenyan domination of the event that he is 'only' fourth on the Kenyan junior rankings.

Yordan 0'Farrill CUB - 110m hurdles
The Cuban with an Irish name, thanks to his ancestors, looked the likely winner from the heats and his crisp technique reminded many people of a young, and injury-free, Dayron Robles. "Many people say this, especially as I train with Dayron and have the same coach," he admitted. In the final, O'Farrill clocked a championship record of 13.18 to move up to third on the junior all-time list for the event.

Jacko Gill NZL - shot put
Gill, still only 17, successully defended his world junior title that he won two years ago in Moncton, Canada, with a championship record of 22.20m, a distance only he and Germany's David Storl have ever beaten as juniors. Nevertheless, despite his achievement, Gill was disappointed that he didn't improve on Storl's world junior record of 22.73m and he will be chasing that later in the year.

Ashraf Amgad Elseify QAT - hammer throw
Elseify, still only 17, is a hugely exciting talent and added more than two metres to the world junior record when he hurled his implement out to a massive 85.57m. "I threw 85 metres with the 5kg hammer when I was a youth, I've now thrown 85 metres with the 6kg junior hammer; however, I hope people don't expect me now to throw 85 metres with the senior hammer next year," joked Elseify, whose winning margin of nearly nine metres was the largest ever in any throwing event, by either a man or a woman, in the history of the World Junior Championships.

Anthonique Strachan BAH - 200m
Strachan followed up her 100m win earlier in the championships to do the double when she scorched around the bend and then down the home straight in championship record of 22.53. "I thought I might have 22.60 in me but I'm amazed I was able to go even faster as I'm really tired after seven races in four days," she commented.

Ashley Spencer USA - 400m
She ran a superb 50.50 to break a championship record that had stood since 1990. It was the fastest time in the world by a junior since 2004 and moved the University of Illinois student up to sixth on the world all-time junior list. Spencer also becomes only the second woman to have won a prestigious NCAA (US collegiate) title and then gone on to win at the IAAF World Junior Championships in the same year; only the US 400m hurdler Lashinda Demus had achieved the feat before.

Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon KEN - 1500m
The softly spoken diminutive Kenyan schoolgirl added another world title to the ones she won at the World Youth Championships and World Cross Country Championships in 2011. Her championship record of 4:04.96 erased from the record books the 20-year-old mark of 4:05.14 which had been held by China's Liu Dong since 1992, a time established 18 months before Kipyegon was born. "I am very happy with the time but I was hoping to also improve my personal best of 4:03.82 (which is also the Kenyan junior record)," she reflected modestly.

Angelica Bengtsson SWE - pole vault
She added to her impressive list of titles when she went over a championship record of 4.50m with her second attempt before bringing the bar down three times at what would have been a world junior outdoor best of 4.60m. "Having jumped 4.58m last week, I had hoped I could get 4.60m as well but I'm still very happy with what I did," said Bengtsson, who successfully defended the title she won two years ago in Moncton.

Ana Peleteiro ESP - triple jump
Every championships needs a home hero or heroine to cheer and salute and the 16-year-old from the fishing port of Ribeira in Spain's most north-westerly region fulfilled that role with aplomb, improving on her own national junior record three times in the final to take the gold medal with a 2012 world-leading mark of 14.17m, before crying her eyes out. "I wasn't able to hide the tears. I beat my personal best by more than half a metre, and I couldn't believe it," said the emotional Spaniard.

Alexandra Tavernier FRA - hammer
She moved up to third in the world junior all-time list when she sent her implement out to a national junior record of 70.62m in the fourth round. For good measure, she also threw 69.12m one round later which would have been good enough to win the competition on Saturday. "What a way to celebrate Bastille Day. I've improved my personal best (and French junior record) by more than two metres," said the delighted Tavernier.

… And finally, many congratulations also have to go to all the officials and volunteers who helped make the championships a resounding success.

Also notable was the raucous and full-throated support many teams provided from the stands while their compatriots were in action.

Among those that especially stood out, in alphabetical order only, were Australia, Bahamas (where did those cow bells come from?), France, Germany, Jamaica, Kenya, hosts Spain and the United States.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF

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