Action from the start of the 400m (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Nairobi, Kenya

Preview: girls' 400m – IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017

It’s little surprise, given their nation’s ability to churn out world-beating talent, that Jamaica has one of the gold medal favourites in the girls’ 400m.

Their sole entrant, Shaquena Foote, should prove tough to beat, the 15-year-old boasting a lifetime best of 53.69 which she ran to win the Jamaican U18 Championships in Kingston last month.

What’s perhaps most impressive about Foote is that she has balanced 400m running with several races over 800m and even 1500m this season, so endurance will not be an issue as she moves through the rounds in Nairobi.

Her biggest rival is likely to be Ghana's Rafiatu Nuhu, whose recent 53.53 PB makes her the fastest entrant, but she has less racing experience than her Jamaican rival.

Barbora Malikova, also just 15, from the Czech Republic, ran her lifetime best of 54.03 to win her national trials in Trinec last month.

These three may well settle the fight for gold between them, but if someone can upset the form lines, then perhaps it will be Doneisha Anderson of the Bahamas, a 54.33 performer this year.

Brazil’s Giovana Rosalia dos Santos, who has run 54.43, could also be in the medal shake-up, as could Spain’s Andrea Jiminez, with a best of 54.47.

One who could spring a surprise is Ethiopia’s Hana Amsalu Geyalu, who clocked 54.96 this season and may well prove that her nation’s outstanding athletic ability is not limited to distance-running.

Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF