The fifth IAAF World Youth Championships got underway as the sun desperately tried to make its way through the clouds here in Ostrava. Although the forecasted rain did materialize mid way through this morning session it didn’t last long and most events were held in dry weather.
A very chilly wind steadily blew throughout the rounds of the boys’ 110m Hurdles, the first event of the competition and it was a 2.1 metre per second tail wind which prevented American Wayne Davis’ 13.38, the fastest time of this morning heats to be registered as a new World Youth leading time of the year.
“I hit a few hurdles but I am satisfied with my new personal best,” said Davis. “My idol is World record holder Liu Xiang. The flight to Ostrava was quite good, I feel OK and I feel no pressure on me.”
Winner of heat 2 Davis had an impressive winning margin of more than five metres over runner-up Denis Semenov of Kazakhstan whose 13.87 were also good enough to advance to this afternoon’s semi-finals.
USA’s William Wynne who declared at yesterday’s press conference that he was only using the 110m Hurdles to improve his speed for his more favoured event, the 400m Hurdles, proved his rhythm is just about right as he cruised to win his heat in a legal 13.39, the World Youth Leading time of the year.
The American pair looks poised to extend the country’s domination at the event in these championships following on the footsteps of Jason Richardson, winner in 2003 and Cordera Jenkins, winner in 2005 as Daniel Martin of Australia, the next best qualifier of this morning heats was almost half a second slower in 13.83.
All favourites advance to Shot Put final
With six athletes throwing over the 19.20 metres qualifying standard to advance to this afternoon’s first final of the championships, the boys’ Shot Put is expected to be highly competitive.
World Youth leader Mykyta Nesterenko of Ukraine had a massive first round effort which landed well beyond the qualifying standard materialized in the infield by a red tape but his shot landed just outside the sector. It didn’t take him long to set the record straight as he put together a 19.81m effort with his second throw.
Meanwhile, Germany’s David Storl whose 20.44m heave was the best of this morning’s rounds was one of no fewer than seven athletes to throw beyond the qualification standard with their opening efforts!
The Championships record of 21.45 set by China’s Feng Liu back in 2003 is likely to fall in this afternoon’s final which includes six of the seven top performers of the year with American Sean Tabor (19.50), Uzbekistan’s Sergey Dementev (19.24) and China’s Bin Sun (18.91) being the only non-Europeans to advance to the final.
Jin and the rest…Girls’ Discus Throw final shapes up
This year’s best youth thrower Yuanyuan Jin of China easily advanced to the girls’ Discus Throw final which will be held this afternoon here in Ostrava. The 17-year-old thrower whose personal best 57.58m is almost four metres better than any other competitor in the field is the outstanding favourite to win the gold medal in an event which her country woman Ma Xuenjun won in Debrecen 2001 with what is still the Championships record 55.26m.
If there is anyone who could challenge Jin that would be Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic who topped the list of qualifiers in this morning rounds with a first round effort of 52.54m, more than one and a half metre below her personal best.
Germany’s Julia Fischer and Great Britain’s Shaunagh Brown the only other athletes in the field who have already reached the 51 metres barrier will also line-up in the final although Brown had a disaster qualification round with two fouls and a 45.07m best throw which fortunately for the 17-year-old was one of the 12 best marks this morning.
Oceania will also be represented in the final with the Australian pair of Kimberly Mulhall and Vika Lolo - following on the footsteps of 2005 World Youth champion Dani Samuels (AUS) - and New Zealand’s Te Rina Keenan.
British Girls dominate 100m heats
Britain’s Asha Philip and Ashlee Nelson were the fastest qualifiers in the girls’ 100m first round heats with times of 11.61 and 11.70 respectively. Although slightly slower, Nelson whose elder brother Alexander was the 200m bronze medallist at last year’s World Junior Championships in Beijing looked the strongest of the pair as she eased up in the last 20 metres of her heat despite a head wind of 0.8m/s.
Second on the World Youth lists behind Philip, USA’s Ashton Purvis ran an easy 11.74 to win the first of nine heats with Brazil’s Rosangela Santos, the third fastest youth sprinter this year also looking very strong as she dominated heat 3 in 11.72.
There were a total of 10 personal bests including a 12.11 run by local favourite Klara Kolomaznikova who advanced to tonight’s second round as one of the fastest losers.
Allistar Clarke – The new Kim Collins?
There were no major casualties in the boys’ 100m first round as Dexter Lee ran impressively to clock 10.55, the fastest time of this morning heats. The 16-year-old powerful Jamaican had more than three tenths of a second to spare over his heat runner-up Matic Molicnik of Slovenia.
Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Allistar Clarke was the second quickest with a personal best 10.58 ran with a tail wind of 2 metres per second. Running strongly in heat four, Clarke whose more famous compatriot Kim Collins won the World senior title in 2003, out-dipped Po-Yu Pan of Chinese Tapei who also recorded a new personal best time of 10.63.
France’s Christophe Lemaître (10.62) was another one of seven athletes to dip under 10.70 with national record holder Vaclav Zich setting a new Czech Youth standard of 10.65 in the eleventh and final heat.
“The new Czech record is a beautiful surprise for me. Even though it was only the first round I feel I have the power to run fast. I would be satisfied if I reached the final and I hope I can manage to beat the Americans and the Jamaicans,” said Zich.
First two events in Boys’ Octathlon concluded
The morning session also included the boys’ Octathlon 100m and Long Jump events, the all-round athletes returning to the track this afternoon to compete in the Shot Put and 400m.
Spain’s Eusebio Caceres started on a high winning the 100m in 10.73 and the Long Jump with a personal best 7.57m to lead with 1874 points after two events.
Trailing in second, Czech Jaroslav Hedvicak opened up with a couple of personal bests (10.84 100m and 7.11m Long Jump) for a total of 1737 points, 39 points ahead of Australia’s Adam Bevis who also improved on his 100m and Long Jump personal bests.
Austria’s Dominik Distelberger whose personal best 5987 points is the best of the field currently lies in seventh position almost 250 points behind Caceres.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF