Chinese powerhouse Feng Liu produced a masterclass of shot-putting to obliterate the world best performance in a high class competition, which saw hosts Canada pick up their first medal of the Championships.
Liu, who boasted a personal best of 19.00m going into the Championships, signalled his intent by setting a Championship Record of 20.17 in qualifying and improving upon Finland’s Robert Haggblom previous best of 19.76m set in the inaugural edition of the event in Bydgoszcz in 1999.
But even Liu must have been surprised by his performance in the final, after bettering his championship record with 20.62m in round one he then launched the shot to a monster 21.45 in round three to smash Ukranian Yuriy Bilonog’s 12-year-old world youth record.
Behind the 16-year-old Chinese athlete, the host nation celebrated bronze as Ontario’s Kyle Helf shattered his personal best with a giant 20.25m in round two. It was a position he retained throughout the remainder of the competition and furthered his personal best thanks to vociferous home support with 20.79m in the final round.
The strength of the competition was summed up by the fact Saudi Arabian bronze medallist Amin Al-Aradi claimed a personal best in round two with 19.69m – within seven centimetres of Haggblom’s former championship record.
There were also personal best performances by Kuwait’s Said Ali Ahmad with 19.28m for sixth and Great Britain’s twenty stone giant Chris Gearing with 18.70m to claim eighth.
Liu said of his gold medal winning performance: “I was incredibly nervous prior to the stepping into the circle for the first time. But I’m very happy with today’s result. I was very impressed with the other competitors. It’s my first time throwing outside of China and everyone was superb, especially the Canadian (Kyle Helf).
Helf said: “My technique was poor on my fourth and fifth throw, but I was able to get good separation between my body and the shot on the final throw to set my personal best (20.79m).
In the three men’s shot put competitions in the history of the World Youth Championships the nine medals have been won by nine different nations – Finland, Russia, Qatar, Bulgaria, Egypt, Korea, China, Canada and Saudi Arabia.