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10 to watch at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018

Hundreds of promising athletes will be in Finland for the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 from 10-15 July.

Our event-by-event previews cover all the main medal contenders, but here are 10 particularly exciting talents to follow next week.

 

Christopher Taylor (JAM) 400m

1 Oct 1999

Christopher Taylor on his way to winning the 400m at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 (Getty Images)Christopher Taylor on his way to winning the 400m at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

The diminutive Jamaican sprinter was one of the star performers at the IAAF World U18 Championships Cali 2015, where he sped to a world age-15 best of 45.27 to win the 400m.

A brief injury spell meant that Taylor was not at his best at the last World U20 Championships, but this season he has set national U20 records at 100m (10.11) and 400m (44.88). His 200m PB of 20.35, meanwhile, puts him second on the Jamaican U20 all-time list behind Usain Bolt.

Achievements
2015 Carifta Games: 400m 1st, 4x400m 1st
2015 World U18 Championships: 400m 1st
2016 Carifta Games: 400m 1st, 4x100m 1st, 4x400m 1st
2016 World U20 Championships: 4x400m 3rd
2017 Carifta Games: 400m 1st, 4x100m 1st, 4x400m 2nd
2017 Pan-American Junior Championships: 200m 1st, 4x100m 2nd, 4x400m 2nd
2018 Carifta Games: 400m 1st, 4x100m 1st, 4x400m 1st

Progression (100m, 200m, 400m)
2014: -, -, 48.80
2015: -, 20.78, 45.27
2016: 10.44, 20.80, 45.66
2017: -, 20.38, 45.41
2018: 10.11, 20.35, 44.88

 

Selemon Barega (ETH) 5000m

20 Jan 2000

Selemon Barega wins the 3000m at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 (Getty Images)Selemon Barega wins the 3000m at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

He still has another full season left as an U20 athlete, but the Ethiopian teenager has already established himself as one of the best distance runners in the world.

Barega was a relative unknown when he won the world U20 5000m title in 2016. Now a regular on the international circuit, he heads to Tampere with the aim of becoming the first man in history to win back-to-back world U20 titles in the 5000m.

Achievements
2016 East African U20 Championships: 5000m 3rd
2016 World U20 Championships: 5000m 1st
2017 World Cross Country Championships: U20 race 5th
2017 African U20 Championships: 5000m 1st
2017 World U18 Championships: 3000m 1st
2017 World Championships: 5000m 5th
2018 World Indoor Championships: 3000m 2nd

Progression (3000m, 5000m)
2015: -, 13:58.8
2016: -, 13:21.21
2017: 7:38.90, 12:55.58
2018: 7:36.64i, 13:02.67

 

Sokwakhana Zazini (RSA) 400m hurdles

23 Sep 2000

Sokwakhana Zazini wins the 400m hurdles at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 (Getty Images)Sokwakhana Zazini wins the 400m hurdles at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

The South African 400m hurdler set a world U18 best of 48.84 in 2017 and went on to win the world U18 title in Nairobi, finishing almost three seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

Now in his first year as an U20 athlete, Zazini continues to impress in both one-lap events. Earlier this year he reduced his PBs to 45.86 for the 400m flat and 49.32 over the senior height 400m hurdles.

Achievements
2017 World U18 Championships: 400m hurdles 1st, 4x400m 3rd

Progression (pole vault)
2014: -, 52.76 (U18)
2015: -, 53.05 (U18)
2016: 47.23, 50.85 (U18)
2017: 46.20, 48.84 (U18)
2018: 45.86, 49.32

 

Armand Duplantis (SWE) pole vault

10 Nov 1999

Armand Duplantis in the pole vault at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images)Armand Duplantis in the pole vault at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

Few athletes in history have achieved as much while an U20 athlete as Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis.

Born into a pole vaulting family, the USA-based Swede has set countless age-group records on his rapid rise to the top. He now owns the eight best vaults in history at the U20 level, indoors and out, topped by his lifetime best of 5.93m.

Achievements
2015 World U18 Championships: pole vault 1st
2016 World U20 Championships: pole vault 3rd
2017 European U20 Championships: pole vault 1st
2017 World Championships: pole vault 9th
2018 World Indoor Championships: pole vault 7th

Progression (pole vault)
2013: 4.15
2014: 4.75i
2015: 5.30
2016: 5.51
2017: 5.90
2018: 5.93

 

Jordan Diaz (CUB) triple jump

23 Feb 2001

Jordan Diaz in the triple jump at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 (Getty Images)Jordan Diaz in the triple jump at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

The Cuban production line of horizontal jumpers shows no signs of slowing down; in fact, Jordan Diaz could well be one of the brightest talents the country has ever produced.

He bounded out to a world U18 best of 17.30m to win the world U18 title in Nairobi last year and extended that mark to 17.41m in Havana last month. The 17-year-old sits at third on the world U20 all-time list and still has another two years in the age group.

Achievements
2017 World U18 Championships: triple jump 1st

Progression (triple jump)
2015: 15.02
2016: 15.65
2017: 17.30
2018: 17.41

 

Samantha Watson (USA) 800m

10 Nov 1999

USA's Sammy Watson in the 4x400m at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 (Getty Images)USA's Sammy Watson in the 4x400m at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

An impressive range and a smart tactical racing brain makes Samantha Watson one of the most exciting middle-distance prospects to come from the USA.

She showed no fear when winning the 800m titles at the 2015 World U18 Championships and 2016 World U20 Championships, despite being the youngest in the field on both occasions.

Achievements
2015 World U18 Championships: 800m 1st, 4x400m 1st
2016 World U20 Championships: 800m 1st, 4x400m 1st
2018 NCAA Indoor Championships: 800m 3rd
2018 NCAA Championships: 800m 1st

Progression (400m, 800m)
2014: 54.93, 2:15.99
2015: 52.69, 2:03.54
2016: 53.21, 2:02.91
2017: 55.76i, 2:00.65
2018: 54.77, 2:01.46

 

Celliphine Chespol (KEN) 3000m steeplechase

23 Mar 1999

Celliphine Chepteek Chespol competes in the 3000m steeplechase qualifying round at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 (Getty Images)Celliphine Chepteek Chespol competes in the 3000m steeplechase qualifying round at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

Although she was already the world U18 and U20 champion, the Kenyan steeplechaser produced one of the biggest surprises of the 2017 season when she set a world U20 record of 8:58.78 in Eugene, making her the second-fastest woman in history.

Now a regular competitor on the international circuit, Chespol owns the six fastest times in history at the U20 level.

Achievements
2015 World U18 Championships: 2000m steeplechase 1st
2016 World U20 Championships: 3000m steeplechase 1st
2017 World Cross Country Championships: U20 race 3rd
2017 World Championships: 3000m steeplechase 6th
2018 African Cross Country Championships: senior race 1st
2018 Commonwealth Games: 3000m steeplechase 2nd

Progression (3000m steeplechase)
2015: 10:18.3
2016: 9:24.73
2017: 8:58.78
2018: 9:01.82

 

Lisa Gunnarsson (SWE) pole vault

20 Aug 1999

Lisa Gunnarsson in the pole vault at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images)Lisa Gunnarsson in the pole vault at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

She has jumped higher than any U18 pole vaulter in history, and now the 18-year-old is aiming to cap her U20 career by taking her first global title.

The globe-trotting Swede has spent time living in Sweden, Argentina, Luxemburg, France and is now based in the USA. Having set a world U18 best of 4.50m in 2016, her PB now stands at 4.60m – the highest vault in the world this year by an U20 athlete.

Achievements
2015 European U20 Championships: pole vault 5th
2016 World U20 Championships: pole vault 7th
2017 European Indoor Championships: pole vault 6th
2017 European U20 Championships: pole vault 1st

Progression (pole vault)
2014: 3.91
2015: 4.25
2016: 4.50
2017: 4.55
2018: 4.60

 

Tara Davis (USA) long jump

20 May 1999

Tara Davis at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 (Getty Images)Tara Davis at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

USA has never won a medal of any colour in the women’s long jump at the World U20 Championships, but Tara Davis looks poised to end that drought.

Davis is a talented hurdler and triple jumper but truly excels in the long jump, an event in which she won the 2015 world U18 title and has a best of 6.73m.

Achievements
2015 World U18 Championships: long jump 1st, triple jump 9th
2017 Pan-American U20 Championships: long jump 1st, 100m hurdles 2nd, 4x100m 1st
2018 NCAA Indoor Championships: long jump 3rd, 60m hurdles 6th
2018 NCAA Championships: long jump 5th

Progression (100m hurdles, long jump, triple jump)
2014: 14.50 (14.26w), 6.03, 12.12 (12.14w)
2015: 13.48, 6.41, 13.01
2016: 13.62 (13.38w), 6.37i, 13.16
2017: 12.95 (12.83w), 6.73 (6.80w), 13.20
2018: 13.09 (13.04w), 6.71, 12.89i

 

Alexandra Emilianov (MDA) discus

19 Sep 1999

Alexandra Emilianov at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 (Getty Images)Alexandra Emilianov at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

Since winning the world U18 title in Cali three years ago, Moldova’s Alexandra Emilianov has been one of the most prolific athletes in international age-group championships.

Having also won U18 and U20 titles at the Balkan and European level, the only major gold medal left for Emilianov to win as a teenager is the world U20 title.

Achievements
2015 World U18 Championships: discus 1st
2016 Balkan U18 Championships: shot put 1st, discus 1st
2016 European U18 Championships: shot put 1st, discus 1st
2016 World U20 Championships: discus 3rd
2017 Balkan U20 Championships: shot put 1st, discus 1st
2017 European U20 Championships: discus 1st
2018 NCAA Championships: discus 12th
2018 Balkan U20 Championships: shot put 1st, discus 1st

Progression (shot put, discus)
2014: 11.90, 47.05
2015: 14.12 (15.37 U18), 52.78
2016: 14.76i (18.50 U18), 58.09
2017: 15.86i, 57.10
2018: 15.63i, 60.24