Jona Efoloko wins the 200m at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Tampere, Finland

Report: men’s 200m – IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018

Nothing went according to the pre-champs form charts in the men's 200m. And Jona Efoloko and Charles Dobson, who produced a rare 1-2 finish in the event, were fine with that.

Consider where the British pair were on the U20 200m scene less than 48 hours ago: Efoloko, 18, arrived in Tampere with a 20.79 lifetime from late June and Dobson, also 18, with a best of 20.73 from May. Medal prospects, but hardly favourites.

But they also arrived well prepared, which was clear in yesterday's opening rounds. Dobson improved to 20.65 in the opening round and 20.53 in the semis; Efoloko to 20.74 and 20.65.

That form continued in the final. Eric Harrison of the US, among the pre-race favourites, was leading midway through the turn, but with the British duo gaining, the lead proved short-lived.

The pair were the picture of confidence coming off the turn with Efoloko, running to the inside of Harrison in lane six, bringing a slight lead into the final straight. Dobson, two lanes to his inside, stayed with him briefly but with about 50 metres remaining, Efoloko began to pull away to eventually reach the line in 20.48, his third PB in as many races at these championships. Dobson clocked 20.57 for second to complete just the second 1-2 sweep for any nation at these championships.

"I wasn't favourite coming into the race but I wanted to come away with a medal," Efoloko said. "It feels amazing to be the world champion, I've worked hard for this. Being first and second with Charles is just amazing."

Dobson was delighted as well.

"Within the past year I've done big jumps from small races to taking second at the World U20 Champs. I've never been happier."

Harrison, the fastest in the field coming into Tampere at 20.39, had no response to the British onslaught and settled for third in 20.79, matching his bronze medal position from the 100m two nights ago. Immediately after the race, the fact that he'd be the only sprinter to take home two medals was of no consolation.

"There's no excuse but I hate losing more than anything - I came to battle and I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I'm still disappointed," he said.

Then, stepping his thoughts back a little, added," I've learned a lot about how far I can take my body, where the limit is. This was a great opportunity to learn ahead of taking on the seniors next year - it's a good stepping stone."

Further back, Pol Retamal of Spain was fourth in 20.85, a scant 0.01 ahead of Australia's Zan Branco.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF