Candace Hill routed the opposition in the girls’ 200m final on Sunday (19) to win her second gold medal of the week at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 with the American’s winning time of 22.43 – run into a 0.7 mps headwind – establishing a new world youth best.
Hill led home an American 1-2 for the first time in the history of this event with teammate Lauren Rain Williams taking silver in 22.90. South Africa’s Nicola De Bruyn finished third in 23.38 in a race where six of the seven starters ran personal bests.
The former world youth best was held by the USA’s Kaylin Whitney with 22.47, which she ran in Eugene on 28 June.
Hill’s performance took 0.62 off her personal best and was one which left some the fastest youths in the world trailing far behind – proof, as if it were needed, that the 16-year-old looks set to become the future of female sprinting.
“I had a great start and when I got into the home straight, I just gave it all I had,” she said.
Hill started well but it was actually teammate Rain Williams who led through the first 50 metres.
The pair entered the home straight together but it was then that Hill opened up her lengthy stride and powered away from Rain Williams.
“I thought I’d just run a 22.9 but 22.4 is way above what I expected,” said Hill. “I ran right through the line, the crowd went wild, and then I heard ‘world youth record’ and I just thought: ‘oh my God, how fast did I run?’”
Silver medallist Rain Williams also set a personal best in second, her time of 22.90 faster than every winning time in the 16-year history of these championships.
“I got out really well and was able to maintain,” said Rain Williams. “We knew it was going to be 1-2 so I’m delighted that we went out and did it.”
South Africa’s Nicola De Bruyn, who ran a personal best of 23.38.
“I’m very happy,” said De Bruyn. “I ran a PB. The goal was to get a medal. The race didn’t go very well in the beginning but my last 100 was good.”
In the end, De Bruyn had to accept she had come up against a truly special athlete on the day and the South African was most gracious in defeat about the champion.
“She’s great,” said De Bruyn. “She’s a very nice person, loves what she does, so I give it to her. She was brilliant today.”
Rain Williams, meanwhile, credited Hill for pushing her to a personal best. “Candace did an amazing job,” she said. “It was because of her I was able to go as fast as I did today because she pushed me.”
Given Hill’s performance, it now seems a matter of time before she pits her talents against the world’s best seniors.
In Cali, though, having just become a double world youth champion – to add to her title as the fastest youth in history – that was the last thing on her mind.
“Maybe next year,” she said. “Right now I just want to rest.”
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF