The World U20 Champs may not have featured the USA or Great Britain but it did reveal a whole host of potential Olympic athletics stars of the future. Here’s our pick of seven to keep an eye on in the coming years.
These championships do draw some raised eyebrows with some baby-faced assassins competing against others who look much older. Tadese Worku (far left) was born in January 2003 so is in theory one of the younger athletes in the field though he already boasts a silver medal from the World Cross in 2019 as a junior man. Speculation aside in 2019 those behind him included an eighteen year old Jakob Ingebrigtsen so Worku has pedigree for sure. And with his win over 3000m at the altitude of Nairobi in 7.42.09 you have to take note. That is a world class time for a junior and at altitude a hugely competitive one for any senior too. Worku also won 5000m silver the next day in 13.20.65.Embed from Getty Images
Pre-race hype surrounded Beatrice Masilingi but it was the Jamaican Tina Clayton who stole the show over 100m. Her time of 11.09 is hugely impressive, even more so considering she has barely turned 17. Born in August 2004 Tina Clayton could be the next generation for Jamaican sprinting.Embed from Getty Images
Chepkoech moved to 14th on the World U20 all time list by winning the 3000m Steeplechase in 9.27.40. Given Jackline Chepkoech is only eighteen we can expect her to be a name we see more of in the Diamond Leagues of the future.
Frenchman Erwan Konate may have found himself only third in the European U20 Champs but in jumping 8.12 to win in Nairobi he has announced himself as a genuine long jump star of the future. Again only eighteen Konate will gear up to the Paris Olympics with big expectations on young shoulders.Embed from Getty Images
Finish Hammer thrower Silja Kosonen will be a star of the future even in Tokyo didn’t go her way (she failed to qualify for the final). Her 71.64m in Nairobi broke the championship record and is an exciting result in an event where athletes generally peak later in their careers. Her 73.43m from earlier this year is a World U20 record.Embed from Getty Images
Sasha Zhoya is perhaps the most precocious talent in World athletics. His 12.72 he ran in the final is in a genuine league of its own, with the next best in history at 12.99. U20s compete with hurdles 7.6cm shorter than the seniors so his world record is actually faster than the senior standard of 12.80. How close he will go to that mark either in Paris or before remains to be seen but you’d say he’ll get close. The standout performer of the champs, by some margin.
Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyonyi broke the championship record in running 1.43.76. The man whose record he beat? A certain Nijel Amos who would go on to win Olympic silver later that year (2012). Wanyonyi’s time is good enough for the eighth best this year as a senior and is made all the more impressive given it was achieved at altitude. He is seventeen and will have the opportunity to defend his title in Colombia next year.
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