Three of the medal favourites in the girls’ events at the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships attended a press conference ahead of the competition, where they spoke about their background, their performances and their goals for the week ahead.
One of the favourites for the 100m and 200m with respective times of 11.39 and 23.18 to her name this season, 16-year-old Ariana Washington of the USA explained her relief of joining the competitive US team in Donetsk:
“This season, I’ve been top in both events [in the US] but I had a tough time at the trials so I’m here to prove I’m the fastest female teenager on the planet.”
On her first love, basketball, Washington continued:
“My high school was really into it and my coach said I should also try out track – I stuck with it and found my god-given talent.”
On her role model, Olympic 200m champion Alyson Felix, Washington revealed:
“We both come from California and she’s opened doors in what she’s achieved and now I can’t wait to walk through those doors after her. I copy her technique and I hope to achieve what she has.”
Britain’s 16-year-old Morgan Lake, the world youth leader in the Heptathlon with 5725, explained her inspiration behind hoping to claim her first international medal here in Donetsk:
“Seeing Jess (Ennis-Hill, the Olympic Heptathlon champion from Great Britain) at the Olympics was amazing, she was really inspirational and I’m trying to be like her.
“She didn’t win the World Youth title but I hope I can win here and be like her one day.”
On her love of athletics and how she found the sport, Lake continued:
“The High Jump is my favourite and my strongest event and the 800m is probably my hardest – it’s not anyone’s favourite.
“Athletics has always been there for me, I was about six months old when I saw my first competition and I did my first training at five years old (later winning her first national title at aged 11). I enjoy watching all events but I particularly like the High Jump and Long Jump, and of course the Heptathlon.”
On her preparation for the event and another role model, World junior Long Jump champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson whose age-group records have been broken by Lake, she revealed:
“The competition I did the day before we flew out was not the best preparation or the best for confidence because I had three fouls, but I jumped well. Although I was upset and nervous afterwards, it’s best to get it out of the way before this competition. Also, losing my bag at the airport was not ideal but we bought some things from the local supermarket so I’m ok.
“I spoke to Katarina about two years ago but not recently, I hope to speak to her about our event soon.”
Venezuela’s 15-year-old Robeilys Peinado, the world youth leader in the Pole Vault with a 4.35m best this season, explained how she switched sports to find more success:
“I came to athletics three years ago after doing gymnastics. I was too tall to be a gymnast so I switched to the Pole Vault. I like being in the air and I feel I can be successful.”
On her role model, Pole Vault World record-holder Sergey Bubka who comes from Donetsk, Peinado continued:
“We take Sergey Bubka as our example, taking his technique and replicating his style so I hope to be as successful as he was.”
On her female inspirations, she concluded:
“Aside from Sergey, I look up to Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia’s World record-holder), Fabiana Murer (Brazil’s World champion) and Angelica Bengtsson (Sweden’s World junior champion).”
Nicola Bamford for the IAAF