Hamza Driouch of Qatar competes during the Men's 1500 metre qualification heat on the day one of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona (Getty Images) © Copyright
On a very warm Catalonian morning where the temperature was generally around 25 degrees with almost 80 per cent humidity their confident displays plus World leading marks in the women's 3000m Steeplechase from Daisy Jepkemei of Kenya and Chinese javelin thrower Shiying Liu, highlighted the superb action which spectators can expect in the six days of action.
Driouch coasted into Thursday night's final with the fastest time of the qualifying round his mark of 3:38.06 finishing well ahead of Ethiopia's Yenew Tebikew who clocked 3:42.69 and Carlos Diaz who posted a Chilean record of 3:43.16 to make the cut automatically.
Immediately before Driouch the Asian record holder with a time of 3:33.69 cantered around the 1992 Olympic Games stadium, Dirirsa took a much closer first qualifying race in a time of 3:41.78 from Kenyan Dominic Mutili (3:41.97) and Mohammed Abid (3:42.58).
Dirirsa who ran a personal best 3:34.55 last month in Prague will also be aiming to achieve a first ever Championships victory for Ethiopia while Teklit Teweldebrahn who took the third heat in 3:46.46 will have the same ambition for Eritrea.
Behind the 18-year-old at his best a 3:36.50 performer, a slow tactical metric mile saw Hillary Ngetich who led until the home straight finish runner up in 3:46.54 and following the Kenyan home was Morocco's Abdelhadi Labali who clocked 3:46.75.
Jepkemei sets World Junior lead in opening event of the champs!
Jepkemei display raised Kenyan hopes of maintaining domination of the women's 3000m Steeplechase where they have provided the winner since its inclusion in the Championship schedule eight years ago.
After watching arch Ethiopian rival Tejinesh Gebisa lower the 2012 World lead with a personal best of 10:01.48 in the first qualifier, she took her race in immaculate style when leading from gun-to-tape and clocking a lifetime best of 9:56.33.
An impressive second kilometre of 3:13 broke the backs of the other contenders for Thursday night's final as she strode well clear of Oona Kettunen of Finland who lowered her PB to 10:12.55 just over two seconds ahead of Germany's Maya Rehberg, with Australia's Tessa Potezny producing a PB 10:22.55 for fourth.
Gebisa was a revelation in her contest swiping 15 seconds from her previous fastest mark and finishing well clear of Stella Rutto who was content to follow the pace of Evdokiya Bukina who came into the Championships as World leader.
The Kenyan running more conservatively than Gebisa, recorded a PB 10:07.13 while the Russian also pacing herself comfortably and wearing a head scarf as protection from the heat of the morning, crossed the line in 10:07.38.
There was also an impressive run from USA champion Brianna Nerud who took the field through the first kilometre in 3:20.4 and kept digging in to clinch an automatic place in the final clocking 10:08.15.
Shot Put finalists decided
Shanice Craft led the qualifiers for tonight's women's shot final with a huge personal best of 16.41m which improved on the 15.28m she posted in Strasbourg, France, at the end of May.
The 19-year-old German who is also entered for the discus, was one of five medal contenders to better the qualifying mark of 15.70m with their first attempts.
China's Yang Gao and Emel Dereli of Turkey second and fourth on the 2012 World lists achieved qualification with efforts of 15.77m and 16.27m while Briton Sophie McKinna and Russia's Natalya Troneva progressed with throws of 15.80m and 15.99m.
There was a nervous performance from Ka Bian ranked third in the world who only made it automatically into the final with her third attempt of 15.88m and with a PB of 16.97m will rank second on performance tonight behind team-mate Gao who has thrown 17.07m.
World Season lead in Javelin too!
Liu improved her javelin world lead by a very respectable 95 centimetres to 58.47m and there was a massive improvement from Sofi Flinck who decimated her previous best moving upwards from 54.85m with a Swedish record of 58.16.
They were the only two throwers to better the qualifying standard of 54 metres and go into tomorrow's final by right. A notable casualty was Japan's World Number 2 Kiho Kuze who managed a disappointing effort of only 45.29m.
The automatic qualifier of 5.20m wasn't required in the men's Pole Vault where Frenchman Thibault Boisseau led a field including this year's World Number 2 Ivan Horvat and nine other jumpers over 5.15m.
Spain's Didac Salas to the delight of the host nation fans was also amongst those who attained that height while Portugal's Ruben Miranda with a season's best of 5.05m made progress on count-back ahead of four other vaulters who reached that height.
Judd leads 800m qualifiers
Jessica Judd who narrowly missed out on a Team Great Britain Olympic place was easily the fastest first round 800m qualifier in the first heat powering around her two laps of the track in an impressive 2:02:71 which dragged four athletes behind her to PB performances.
"I didn't expect to run so fast but I'm confident for the final," said Judd, whose pace pulled Ugandan Winnie Nanyondo, Kenya's Agatha Kimaswai, Sonja Mosler of Germany and Morocco's Khaddija El Moussaoui into tomorrow's semi-finals.
Ukraine's Anastasiya Tkachuk the fastest athlete competing in Barcelona won her heat untroubled in 2:04.19 pulling Anita Hinriksdottir to an Icelandic record of 2:04.74, while Manal El Bahraoui ranked seventh in the world cruised through with a victory in 2:06.07.
Gemili and Hill unchallenged in 100m heats
Adam Gemili the hot favourite for the 100m gold medal previously won by fellow Brits Christian Malcolm, Mark Lewis-Francis and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, sauntered through his heat into a headwind of 10.37 winning by three metres from China's Zhenye Xie.
"Today I didn't give my best because I wanted to reserve it for tomorrow's race," said Gemili before his semi-final and final appearances. "I hope to make it great tomorrow."
Gemili's time was matched by Tyreek Hill tipped to be his major rival for the gold medal with his fellow American Aaron Ernest also dipping under 10.40 by one-hundredth-of-a-second.
The men's 110m Hurdles saw Yordan L. O'Farrill lead the qualifiers for the semi-finals when roller coasting to an unchallenged time of 13.44. James Gladman of Great Britain and Australia's Nicholas Hough second and fourth on the global list behind the Cuban also progressed with victories in 13.69 and 13.51 while seventh placed American Dondre Echols claimed his heat in 13.74.
"I am very confident for the final, I don't fear anyone," said O'Farrill whose idols are Liu Xiang and Dayron Robles. "Others should fear me."
After three events in the Decathlon Jake Stein after a tremendous Shot Put of 16.39m moved from seventh to first but his fellow Australian Cedric Dubler who had been leading after performances of 11.05 in the 100m and a 7.47m Long Jump, tumbled down to ninth despite a PB mark of 12.35m.
The close of the morning session saw Stein leading with a tally of 2581 points from Peter Braun of the Netherlands (2492pts) and his fellow Dutchman Tim Dekker who scored 2486pts.
David Martin for the IAAF
- Hamza Driouch of Qatar competes during the Men's 1500 metre qualification heat on the day one of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Adam Gemili of Great Britain in action in the first round of the men's 100m at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Athletes compete during the Men's 100 metres qualification heat on the day one of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona on 10 July 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- James Gladman (R) of Great Britain wins his Men's 110 metres Hurdles qualification heat on the day one of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Teshome Dirirsa of Ethiopia competes during the Men's 1500 metre qualification heat on the day one of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona on 10 July 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright