Athletics fans of a certain generation will remember the 60s worldwide hit ‘Friday On My Mind’ and more than a few were humming The Easybeats' famous standard in Hayward Field after Trentavis Friday took the 200m title at the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014 on the appropriate day of the week.
Friday sped around the curve and clocked the stunning time of 20.04; the fastest time ever seen for what the locals in Eugene like to call the furlong. He was only deprived a championship record – which still belongs to Italy’s Andrew Howe at 20.28 from 2004 – thanks to a slightly over-the-limit following wind of 2.3m/s.
However, a rough calculation suggests that if the wind had eased just a little, then Howe would no longer be the record holder.
“It was windy today but I just wanted to try to win the race," said Friday, who will start his studies at Florida State University next month. "Time didn't matter, fast is fast and I just wanted to win today. My curve is strong. The crowd is a big deal in a race like that. Hearing them screaming louder and louder really helped me finish with the win."
Trailing in his wake, Nigeria’s elaborately named Ejowokoghene Divine Oduduru – Divine to his friends – got a surprise silver in 20.25.
Just a few minutes earlier, Kaylin Whitney had shown Friday to the line when she won the women’s 200m.
The 16-year-old Florida high school student did it in a commanding way with a wind-assisted 22.82.
The bronze medallist in 100m two days ago, world leader Whitney – who had the disturbance of being responsible for a faulty start before the race itself got going – came fast out of the blocks with a slight lead over world youth champion Irene Ekelund and maintained her advantage over her Swedish rival all the way to the line.
Ekelund finished second with 22.97 coming home ahead of Angela Tenorio of Ecuador who was third in 23.15.
Hyde does double
Jamaica’s Jaheel Hyde flew to victory in a world-leading 49.29 to take the 400m hurdles after taking command of his race between the seventh and eighth hurdles.
Ali Khamis Khamis of Bahrain overhauled USA’s Tim Holmes after the 10th and last hurdle to take the silver medal in 49.55, his third national junior record in as many races, with Holmes third in 50.07.
Another world-junior-leading mark came in the men’s hammer as Ashraf Amgad Elseify became the first athlete to successfully defend his title at this edition of the IAAF World Junior Championships.
The Qatari dominated arguably the best field event on the night with a world-leading mark of 84.71m, just less than a metre shy of his world junior record of 85.57m set two years ago when winning in Barcelona.
The only man to surpass 80 metres, he led after his opening throw with 81.82m and extended it with his second effort of 84.51m before reaching 84.71m in the fifth round.
He also became the first male hammer thrower to win two consecutive world titles. To celebrate, the athletic Elseify deftly did back flips on the back straight during his lap of honour.
Hungary’s Bence Pasztor secured the silver behind Elseify just as he did in 2012 – the first time in the history of the championships that both the gold and silver medallists have been repeated at two consecutive editions – with his opening 79.14m and he ended the competition with 79.99m.
Like Elseify, China’s Guo Tianqian confirmed her status as favourite in her event.
The 2011 world youth champion and 2014 world junior leader was a class apart, producing the only 17-metre efforts of the afternoon.
She took the lead with her opening 16.96m and increased it by almost one metre with her fourth-round effort of 17.71m.
Da Silva gets the midas touch
Izabela da Silva of Brazil won the discus with a massive personal best of 58.03m.
Da Silva – who was only fourth on the 2014 world list after her national record of 55.96m in Thursday’s qualifying competition – unleashed a world-junior-leading 58.03m in the second round to take the lead from US junior champion Valerie Allman, who had opened with 56.75m.
It was also an improvement on her own national junior record by more than two metres.
Allman had other throws farther than 56 metres but could not threaten the Brazilian, who produced two more efforts beyond 57 metres – 57.39m and 57.12m in the third and fourth rounds – to seal her memorable victory.
In the morning, Daisuke Matsunaga confirmed his pre-race favourite status in the 10,000m race walk and won the first gold medal of the day.
Matsunaga shot into the lead almost straight from the gun and won by more than 100 metres, crossing the line in a championship record of 39:27.19.
The Japanese race walker made a significant improvement on the previous mark of 39:35.01, set by Russia’s Stanislav Yemelyanov in 2008, and came close to his Asian junior record of 39:18.71.
Russia’s Mikhail Akimenko won an enthralling men’s high jump with 2.24m. Four men got over that height before failing at 2.26m but the Russian took the honours by virtue of fewer failures during the competition.
Somewhat surprisingly, given Russia’s impressive depth in the event, Akimenko became the first man from his country to win the world junior high jump title.
Ethiopia’s world youth 3000m champion Yomif Kejelcha stepped up successfully to junior competition and led for most of the last kilometre in the 5000m before winning in a personal best of 13:25.19.
Kejelcha’s team-mate Yomif Haji, with whom he shared pacing duties in the last third of the race, finished second in 13:26.21 after Kejeelcha went through the gears at the sound of the bell and sped away from his compatriot. Moses Mukono Letoyie of Kenya took the bronze in 13:28.11.
Kendell Baisden added the USA’s third gold of the day in the penultimate track event when she cruised to the 400m title in 51.85. She pulled away from Cuba’s Gilda Casanova with 80 metres to go, the latter holding on for second in 52.59.
At the end of the fourth day of competition in Hayward Field, the host nation USA lead the medal table with five gold medals, four silvers and four bronze medals; well ahead of Russia who have three gold medals.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF