Leonard Kirwa Kosencha celebrates setting a new World Youth 800m best (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Lille, France

Kosencha blazes 1:44.08 World Youth best - Lille 2011 - Day 4, Evening report

Leonard Kirwa Kosencha produced an enormous quality 800m performance where after leading from start to finish he motored to the fastest ever time ever run by a youth of 144.08 at the 7th IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille on Saturday (9) night.

Kosencha, from the same Masai village which has produced current senior World record holder David Rudisha, showed his early potential to follow in the footsteps of his fellow countryman with his awesome two laps around the Lille Metropole Stadium.

His speedy pace when covering the first 200 in 24.60 and passing through the bell in an exceptional 50.85 and then running a fierce last lap, saw him take the speed and strength out of the legs of silver and bronze medallists Mohammed Aman and Timothy Kitum.

Aman of Ethiopia, last summer's Youth Olympic 1000m title winner and world leader coming into what was a classical encounter by anyone's standards, reduced his lifetime best to 1:44.68 with the winner's teammate Kitum doing likewise just 0.30 in his shadow.

Kosencha, revealing he had problems after the race, said: "I'm very happy even if I've got an injury in my leg. I get a new record - it's fantastic. My goal now is to be a star in my country."

Kipyegon sets 1500m Championship record

Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon took the 1500 gold medal with a powerful performance throughout the raced which as in many other encounters became an Ethiopia versus Kenya contest.

The Kenyan's victory saw her capture the title for her nation for a fourth successive occasion as she destroyed the hopes of Senbere Teferi and Genet Tibieso representing Kenya's more northerly neighbours.

Kipyegon, who led through the first lap in 64.45sec maintained that speedy start to smash the Championship record of 4:12.29 which her fellow countrywoman Sheila Chepkirui Kiprotich and did it in great style.

After burning off Teferi and Tibieso who went to the start line as world No. 1 with a time of 4:12.50 over the final circuit, Kipyegon ran a superb time of 4:09.48.

Teferi claimed the silver medal in a PB 4:10.54 while Tibieso also clocked the fastest time of her career finishing in 4:11.56.

"When I was young I still felt that one day I would be a champion," said Kipyegon, adding that she’s not planning to step up in distance. "I prefer the 1500 than the 3000."

World leads for Hailey and Kuznetsov in 400m Hurdles

Nnenya Hailey finished off her stay in Lille where she has dominated the 400m Hurdles by storming to an outstanding victory in a world leading time of 57.93.

Hailey, two days after lowering her PB to 58.44, went much faster on the biggest day so far in her athletics career when dipping under 58 seconds for the first time.

The American, who started very quickly and became the third from her country to claim the title, easily held off the challenges of Sara Carli and Zurian Hechavarria.

Hailey only put one foot wrong when hitting the final hurdle but the speed she was travelling at saw her quickly regain her momentum for a treasured victory.

Carli of Australia and Hechavarria of Cuba both significantly lowered their PBs from 59.06 and 59.71, their times of 58.05 and 58.37 moving them to second and third in the 2011 rankings.

Constant Pretorius showed brave tactics when storming out of his blocks and down the backstraight where at 200m it seemed he was going to follow in the footsteps of the Championships first ever gold medallist Marthinus Kritzinger.

The South African, coming off the final bend seemed to have that ambition almost achieved until the wheels came off as he approached the final hurdle.

That saw Russia's Egor Kuznetsov, Ibrahim Mohammed Saleh and Takahiro Matsumoto take the initiative and wreck his hopes.

Kuznetsov, becoming Russia's first ever gold medallist, won in a world lead and PB of 50.97 with Saleh who has enjoyed a great Championships runner up in his lifetime best of 51.14 while Matsumoto also produced his fastest ever time of 51.26.

Pretorius ended up fifth, and coming after Christiann Mouton who was world No. 1 coming into the Championships, there was disappointment in the South African camp.

Mendieta leads Cuban 1-2 in Heptathlon

Cuba's World leader Yusleidys Mendieta and Yorgelis Rodriguez  won the Caribbean nation its first ever Heptathlon medals and in fantastic style with gold and silver.

They became the third pair to score a 1-2 following in the footsteps of Germany's Annett Wichmann and Christine Schultz 10 years ago and Tatyana Chernova and Yana Panteleyeva in 2005, ahead of Belgium’s gritty Marjolein Lindemans.

The pair shone particularly in the strength events with Mendieta improving her world lead to 5697 points while Rodriguez had a lifetime best of 5671 as did the third placed Lindemans who tallied 5532.

After bronze medallist Kendell Williams on the first day led in her specialty 100m hurdles, it was the turn of Lindemans to hit the front in the high jump which followed.

However Mendieta then took charge of the competition for the remaining five events and having already set PBs in the hurdles and High Jump proceeded to do so in the 200m, Javelin Throw and 800m.  

The trio went into the final event with Mendieta holding a lead of 158 points ahead of her teammate who herself had an advantage of 73 from the gallant Lindemans.

But there were no shocks or surprises as all three finished off a magnificent two days action and in a contest where all 31 finishers achieved personal bests.

Singh wins Pole Vault for Germany, equals her world lead

Germany's Desiree Singh, who set a world Pole Vault lead of 4.25m, matched that height for a nervous gold medal victory ahead of Liz Parnov and Lucy Bryan.

Singh's road to victory wasn't easy when with the bar at 4.10m she only got over with her third attempt and it seemed the more consistent Australian Parnov with a PB would emerge as victor.

But after keeping clean sheets at 4.00m and 4.10m she needed a second attempt as did Singh to get over a season's best 4.20m before crashing out at 4.25m.

Bryan proved the best of the three jumpers who cleared 4.10m winning on countback ahead of Greece's Yeoryia Stenfanidi, Alissa Soderberg from Sweden and Italy's Roberta Bruni.

Levecque scores home territory win in High Jump

Three contenders may have cleared 2.13m in the High Jump and then failed when the bar was raised to 2.16m but it was Gael Levecque who took the gold medal for the host nation.

He was the only the jumper to clear the height first time when adding a centimetre to his PB which came a month ago at an international meet in Montereau, France.

That saw another great celebration ensue when the 16-year-old ran to the main stand to hug his fans whom were clearly overwhelmed by his victory.

Behind him Russia's Usman Usmanov equalled his lifetime best while Justin Fondren of the USA, a 2.19m performer at his best, took the bronze medal.

Collie-Minns twins take Triple Jump gold and bronze

Latario Collie-Minns with his first attempt won the Triple Jump gold medal for The Bahamas to add another to the outstanding victory Shaunae Miller achieved in the 400m the previous evening.

Collie-Minns, who enjoys a keen rivalry with his twin brother Lathone and who started the competition as world No. 1 with a mark of 16.55m, produced a much reduced winner of 16.06m.

There were high hopes of a family 1-2 when Lathone cleared 15.51m in the second round but South Africa's Albert Janki split the pair when with his last attempt he cleared 15.95m.

James claims Great Britain's first gold medal

Louisa James, in a competition which was taking place when the track action had been completed, scored Great Britain's first success when winning the hammer title with a throw of 57.13m.

Her personal best by almost three metres, which came in round two, saw her hit the lead from Poland's Malwina Kopron who led after an opener of 57.03m which earned her the silver medal.

Roxanie Perie from Romania, not listed in the World Top 10, also had her best effort with her first attempt of 56.75m.

Vazquez adds another gold for Cuba

World leader Rosalie Vazquez wasn't far short of her personal best when becoming the second Cuban winner of the Discus gold medal with a throw of 53.51m.

Vazquez triumphed ahead of Yan Liang from China who when it mattered most produced the goods with a personal best of 52.89m in the same fourth round of the competition.

Until then Shelbi Vaughan of the USA, who led the qualifying rounds, started the final where she left off the previous day leading with her opening throw 52.58m.

But although the trio were over 50 metres with all of their remaining attempts there was no change in the medal order.

Todd looking good for second gold medal, Henry impresses in her 200m semi

Shericka Jackson, eager to run sub-23 seconds in the 200m final, was well shy of that time although still producing a dominant performance when after easing past Monica Brennan and Khamica Bingham she relaxed in the final 30 metres to win her semi final in 23.66.

Behind Jamaica's World No. 1 there was a fantastic breakthrough for Brennan the Australian going under 24 seconds for the first time and stylishly too in a time of 23.78. Canada's Bingham the fastest starter did likewise clocking 23.89.

"I'm second? I'm second?," said an elated Brennan. "With a PB, it's so fantastic. I felt so good. My dream goes on."

The second heat produced a personal best for Christian Brennan, the Canadian fourth in the world rankings, and leading from gun-to-tape, improving from 23.56 to 23.48. Germany's Anna-Lena Freese also qualified for the final by right clocking 23.84.

The third and final heat saw Great Britain's Desiree Henry, leading throughout, roar to the fastest time of her career and of the semis of 23.38 which moved her to second in the global rankings behind Jackson's lead of 23.32.

Henry was followed home by Bulgarian Galina Nikolaya who lowered her fastest mark by 0.01 to 23.70 while third and fourth placed  Nkiruka Florence Uwakwe from Nigeria and Bealoved Brown of the USA made the final as fastest losers in 23.73 and a PB 23.80.

The men's 200 saw Stephen Newbold move into the World Top 10 with a PB of 21.08, an improvement of 0.15 and behind the Bahamian, Akiyyuki Hashimoto of Japan, the fastest performer coming into the Championships, made it into the final with 21.20.

But it was a closely run affair with Canada's Andre Azonwanna giving the Japanese athlete a run for his money and losing out by just 0.01, good enough to progress as a fastest loser.

O'Dail Todd, the 100 gold medallist, took the penultimate step to scoring the first double since Harry Aikines-Aryeetey of Great Britain did six years ago in Marrakech.  

The Jamaican was always in control in a race which he won in a PB 21.02, the fastest of the round from Ronald Darby and a struggling Michael-Meba Zeze.

The Jamaican who improved by 0.06 was followed home by the USA's Darby in 21.08 while France's 100m bronze medallist Zeze was third in 21.21 but making it to another final.

Aldrich Bailey ripped his PB to shreds by 0.15 when taking the third and final qualifier in 21.29 while Aussie Hugh Donovan chasing him hard but making no inroads, did likewise with a time of 21.46.

David Martin for the IAAF