Norah Jeruto Tanui, hammering out the world's fourth fastest ever 2000m Steeplechase performance, clearly underlined why she is favourite for the gold medal when the third day of the 7th IAAF World Youth Championships got underway in Lille (8).
Tanui, instead of just settling into the pack and gaining one of the four automatic qualifying places, operated at almost full throttle when flying around her five circuits of the track in 6:20.67, which improved the world leader she set at altitude in Nairobi a month ago by five seconds.
After passing through the first kilometre in 3:01.95, the tiny 15-year-old Kenyan was on schedule to break the World Youth Best Performance of 6:11.83 which Ethiopia's Korahubsh Itaa achieved at the last Championships in Bressanone two years ago.
But a huge 50 metres ahead of the field and running in a personal vacuum it didn't happen although no doubt she will have it on her wish list in Sunday's final.
"It was very easy for me, I didn't find any problem to win this race," said Tanui who will be joined in the final by the other qualifiers by right who all set PBs: Motu Megersa of Ethiopia (6:30.81), Morocco's Fadwa Sidi Madane (6:34.10), Belen Casetta of Argentina (6:35.40) and Ugandan Nancy Cheptegei (6:38.57).
Tanui's teammate Lilian Jepkorir Chemweno also won her qualifier - if not so convincingly - in a personal best 6:31.66 from the determined looking pre-Championship world No. 2, Madeleine Meyers of the USA.
Chemweno, who posted her previous PB of 6:35.7 behind Tanui at the Kenyan Schools meet on 8 June, at one stage enjoyed a 30 metre advantage from Meyers after passing through the first kilometre in 3:04.31.
But her much taller rival who possessed a much longer stride, began reeling her in to finish in 6:34.80 with Ethiopia's Tejinesh Gebisha and Dana Elena Loghin also making the final by right with PB times of 6:35.22 and 6:41.96.
Zeze raises French hopes of another medal - Jackson predicting sub-23 in her 200 final
After his 100m bronze medal exploit last night, Frenchman Michael-Meba Zeze raised the host nation's hopes he can do even better in the 200m when posting the second fastest qualifying time in the heats.
Zeze, reckoned to be a better performer in the longer sprint, showed no signs of tiredness when winning his qualifier without breaking sweat in a time of 21.42.
Stephen Newbold posted the fastest time of the day in his heat of 21.40 while his fellow Australian Hugh Donovan, who was fifth in the 100m final, clocked a season's best 21.47 when winning his.
The USA's Ronald Darby, who finished a place in front of Donovan in the 100m, also claimed a victory in 21.50 while Jamaica's 100m gold medallist O'Dail Todd won his in 21.60.
With the only sub-24 second clocking of the first qualifying round, Desiree Henry of Great Britain headed the list of girls who will move into tomorrow's semi finals.
Henry, a 23.78 performer indoors, won the final heat in a PB of 23.57 ahead of Carmiesha Cox of the Bahamas, Loungo Matlhaku from Botswana and Marie Gisele Eleme of Cameroon who also made the cut.
Behind her on the roster of times, Jamaica's world leader Shericka Jackson and Australia's Monica Brennan with their dead heat in 24.08 also progressed while Canada's Christian Brennan ran 24.02, the second fastest of the day, to make the semi finals.
"At the moment I do not feel very well, but I know that I am in great form and in the final I want to attack 22 seconds," said Jackson, who has ran 23.32 this season.
Her teammate Khamica Bingham, fifth in the previous evening's 100m final, placed second 0.02 behind Russia's Ekaterina Renzhina who recorded 24.19 in her bid to chase more glory while Galina Nikolova, who was fourth and Tamiriz De Liz seventh, also moved on with times of 24.52 and 24.65.
Rinnekari and Bykov look good in the Hammer Throw and Pole Vault
Heli Rinnekari, seventh in the world Hammer Throw lists, who after two attempts had to still attain the qualifier for the final achieved it to perfection with her final attempt.
In an event where in her country the first preference is throwing javelins, the Finn produced the best performance of the two groups with an effort of 56.21m.
Rinnekari, Romania's Roxana Perie who threw a PB 55.86m and Louisa James of Great Britain with also in their third round of the 'A' group threw 55.20m, were the only athletes to better the automatic qualifier of 55.50m.
There was a big shock when world leader Hanna Zinchuk from Belarus who produced a lengthy 60.11m at the Russian Winter meeting in February could only produce a best of 52.73m and was eliminated.
Ukraine's world No. 1 Heorhiy Bykov needed just one jump with the bar at 4.70m to start his bid to lift his country's first ever Pole Vault gold medal.
Bykov, from the nation which produced Sergey Bubka the world's greatest ever performer in the discipline, will if successful in Sunday's final improve on the silver medal Oleksandr Korchmyd achieved at the inaugural Championships in 1999.
Slovenia's Robert Renner, another medal favourite and second in the rankings, also went through with the bar at 4.80m which some competitors had to attempt until eliminations and qualification assured made it unnecessary for others to do likewise.
David Martin for the IAAF
Ed. Note: Highlights from the girls' Heptathlon will come later this afternoon.
- Norah JERUTO TANUI of Kenya leads the field in the Girls 2000 metres steeplechase heats - Day Three - WYC Lille 2011 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Michael-Meba ZEZE of France in action in the Boys 200 metres heats - Day Three - WYC Lille 2011 (Getty Images) © Copyright