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Fine conditions produce new Championships records in Debrecen heats

Fine conditions produce new Championships records in Debrecen heats
Sean Wallace-Jones for the IAAF
12 July 2001 – Debrecen, Hungary - Apart from a brief but torrential summer shower, the conditions here were almost perfect on this first day of the IAAF/ Westel World Youth Championships.

With the day consecrated to eliminatory heats, the action was fast and furious, with event succeeding event in a maelstrom of young hopefuls going all-out to pass through to the next stage of the Championships by winning their place in a semi-final. In the World Youth Championships, no more than two rounds (qualifying and eventually a semi-final) precede the final in any event.

The first athlete to go through to a semi-final today did it without any shoes. Cherotich Kipkorir Ruto from Kenya ran the fastest qualifying time of the women’s 800m with a personal best of 2:07.63, to clinch victory in the first heat of the day and did it barefoot. The 15-year-old said afterwards that she found running barefoot more comfortable: “It is not only healthier….but I also feel the track a lot more, which helps me. I won the heat, which also shows how much I love to run this way!” The fastest 800 men’s qualifier was also from Kenya, with Elijah Kiprono Boit winning the 5th heat in 1:50.25. Season leader Cosmas Rono won his heat comfortably in 1:52.74, crossing the line over a second ahead of Luxembourg’s David Fiegen.

The only events for which semi-finals were held today were the men and women’s 100m metres. A lane in the semi-finals went to the winner of each heat and the 15 fastest places. The fastest through the qualifying round and into the semi-final in the women’s event was Russia’s Yekaterina Kuznetsova, who won the first qualifying heat in a time of 11.84 to automatically qualify for the semis. Next fastest was the winner of heat 7, Jamaican Kerron Stewart with 11.86 and she was followed into qualification by the number 2 in her heat, April Brough from New Zealand.

In the semi-finals, Kuznetsova was beaten into second place by South Africa’s Vicky Van Os, who won the first heat in 11.98, beating the Russian by one hundredth of a second. But the pole position went to Allyson Felix (USA), with 11.76 in the third and fastest heat, which also provided the two fastest losers, who also qualify for the finals that will be run tomorrow afternoon.

In the men’s 100 metres qualifying round the honour of fastest finisher went to Trinidadian Darrel Brown, who heads the 2001 world under 18 lists with 10.24 and who ran 10.46 to win the 4th heat here this afternoon with consummate ease, finishing 20 hundredths ahead of second place finisher Ayub Shameer from Singapore. The next fastest heat winner was Japan’s Masaya Aikawa, who clocked 10.61 to win heat 6. Jonathan Wade of the USA took third place in the qualifying line up, winning heat 12 with a time of 10.62. With 12 heats in the men’s 100m, places in the semis went to the winners of each heat and the 12 fastest losers.

In the semi-final Wade won the first heat and set the tempo for what is going to be a great final as he clocked 10.42, only to be upstaged by Darrell Brown who set a Championships record in the second heat, crossing the line in 10.38 for the second fastest time in the world this year for his age group. The finals for the men’s 100 metres will also take place tomorrow afternoon.

It was fitting in this land where the throws – and especially the hammer throw – are a great national passion that the leading place in the qualifying round of the women’s hammer throw should go to a Hungarian. Despite competing in the B group, Eva Orbán hurled her implement 55.70 metres to automatically qualify with the longest throw of the day. Orbán’s compatriot Andrea Kéri also qualified to the delight of the spectators in the Debrecen Sports Center stadium, but the two local favourites will have their work cut out in the final, as they will be facing Argentina’s Jennifer Dahlgren – 54.90 in qualifying - and the number two in the 2001 under 18 world lists, Berta Castells from Spain 2001 best 61.62 on 28 April), Mariya Smaliachkova of Belarus and the Ukraine’s Svetlana Kovalchuk. Qualifying for the men’s hammer is on Saturday and the women’s final will take place that afternoon.

Romania and Russia were the first qualifiers in the women’s triple jump, with 16-year-old Alina Popescu the leading qualifier with 12.83, closely followed by Svetlana Bolshakova with 12.77. Host nation Hungary will be represented by Melinda Szolyák, who qualified with a personal best of 12.43.

In the men’s long jump, Abdulla Al Walid from Qatar learnt a lesson from his first two fouls and became the best qualifier with a clearance of 7.55 metres on his third and final attempt. Al Walid was one of five athletes to achieve the automatic qualification standard of 7.30 metres (Al Walid, John Thornell –AUS , Thiago Jacinto Carahyba Dias – BRA, Andrew Howe-Besozzi – ITA and Dae-Young Go – KOR).  Seven other athletes passed through to the final to make up the best 12 qualified.

With four events completed in the first day of the men’s octathlon (eight events) contested for the first time here in Debrecen, Germany’s Kamghe Gaba leads the field with 3097 points (100m, 11.43 –767pts; LJ,  6.84m –776 points; SP, 13.67 m –708 points; 400m, 49.83 –846 points), ahead of Rene Oruman from the land of Erki Nool, Estonia, with 3092 points (823; 797; 753; 719) and Essa Mufarrah from Saudi Arabia with 3084 points (853; 898; 571; 763). Kamghe Gaba, who measures 1m99, moved into first place by clocking the best time over 400 metres (49.33), the last event of the first day. Gaba's roots are from a country which is not represented in Debrecen: his father came to Germany at 18 years of age from Africa and his native Chad.

The women’s 100 metres hurdles heats saw Germany take a leading position with Kathrin Geissler’s heat 4 winning time of 13.83, Yevgeniya Snigur  (UKR) ran the second fastest time of qualifying with 13.93 and the third-fastest of the qualifiers, Eliana Durkó (HUN) set a new national youth record with her time of 13.94, bettering her previous record set a the recent Hungarian National Youth Championships and was third fastest in the qualifying heats. She was optimistic after her heat: “I broke the nine year old national record at this year’s national championships and there is still more in me. I just have to find a way to use it – hopefully in the semi-finals”.

Annelie Van Wyk (RSA), Aleksandra Kiryashova (RUS), and Simone Langhirt (GER) headed the qualifiers for the women’s pole vault competition, with all three clearing 3.70 for automatic qualification.

Another Championships record was set in the women’s discus throw qualifying heats, with China’s Xuejun Ma throwing a world leading 55.26 metres to go through to the final. Ma’s throw was over five metres better than that of second-placed qualifier Darya Pishchalnikova (49.95) from Russia, who was followed in qualifying by Ukrainian Kateryna Karsak who threw a personal best of 47.29 metres

The final event of the day, the men’s 3000 metres saw the traditional distance kings, Kenya and Ethiopia take the honours: Markos Geneti of Ethiopia won the first heat in a Championships record time of 8:04.00, with the second heat won by David Kilel of Kenya with 8:14.43. the first three finishers in the first heat were all under 8:14 – James Kwalia (KEN) in second place ran 8:05.24, Yassine Mandour from Morocco in third clocked 8:13.15.