Blessing Akawasi Afrifah from Israel won the 200 metres gold medal in 19.96 into a slight headwind of -0.1 m/s edging 100m world under 20 champion Letsile Tebogo by six thousandths of a second in a dramatic final on day four of the World Under 20 Championships. For the first time in history two under 20 sprinters have broken the 20 seconds barrier in the same race.
Both sprinters showed very good form earlier this week. Afrifah set three consecutive PBs at these championships clocking 20.37 in the heats, 20.17 in the semifinals and 19.96 in the final. Tebogo followed his 100 metres gold medal in a world under 20 record of 9.91 with a championship record of 19.99 in the 200 metres heats.
Afrifah finished seventh in the 200m final at last year’s World Athletics Under 20 Championships in Nairobi.
Afrifah has become the second world under 20 champion in history following YonathanKapitolnik’s win in the men’s high jump at last year’s edition in Nairobi.
Blessing Afrifah: “I am so emotional. I am out of words. For a second I thought: ‘OK, I am second, but I am very happy to be second to Tebogo’. I achieved my dream”.
Letsile Tebogo: “This is the best race that I have ever run in my life so far. I am really grateful for the performance and it’s not everybody who can run these fast times, four days in a row”.
Calab Law from Australia won the bronze medal in 20.48 two weeks after reaching the semifinals at the World Championships in Eugene. World 100m under 20 champion Benjamin Richardson finished fourth in 20.55 ahead of Brandon Miller (20.64).
Men’s pole vault:
Reigning European Under 20 champion Anthony Ammirati from France set a national under 20 record of 5.75m and a world leading mark of 5.75m to win his first under 20 title in the men’s pole vault. Ammirati bounced back from the disappointment from last year, when he failed to clear his opening height of 5.30m.
This time the Frenchman cleared 5.35m, 5.45m, 5.55m and 5.65m on his first attempt before failing his first try at 5.70m. Ammirati cleared 5.75 on his first attempt to improve his previous PB by three cm securing the world title. Ammirati made three attempts at a championship record of 5.83m. Juh Alasaari from Finland won his second consecutive world under 20 silver medal with a national under 20 record of 5.60m. Michal Gawenda set his PB of 5.45m to win the bronze medal.
Women’s pole vault:
Hana Moll cleared 4.35m to win the women’s pole vault. The 17-year-old US pole vaulter vaulted 4.20m in her first attempt and 4.30m at the second time of asking. Moll needed three attempts to clear the winning height of 4.35m before failing three attempts at 4.45m. Hana’s twin sister Amanda Moll, who set an area under 20 record of 4.51m, finished fifth with 4.20m.
Chiara Sisterman from Germany won the silver medal with a third-time clearance at 4.20m to beat her compatriot Janna Sophie Ohrt on countback. World under 20 silver medallist Elise Russis from France finished fourth with 4.20m.
Hana Moll: “It feels great. It was a good competition. I had a great time against everyone that was there. It was much better weather than the day before. I am really proud of what we both I and my sister Amanda have accomplished this year”.
Men’s hammer throw:
Ioannis Korakidis from Greece set a world leading mark and a PB with 79.11m in the fifth round. This throw was initially judged to be a foul, but it later proved to be the winning mark. Max Lampinen threw a PB of 76.33m in the fifth round to take the silver medal with a margin of 1 cm over Iosif Kesidis from Cyprus, who set his PB of 76.32m in the sixth round.
Men’s 400 metres:
Lythe Pillay eased down the final straight to win the men’s 400 metres in 45.28 ahead of USA’s Steven McElroy (45.65) and Yusuf Ali Abbas, who improved his PB to 45.80. Pillay avenged his fourth place at last year’s World Under 20 Championships in Nairobi.
Lythe Pillay: “It was a difficult journey after coming in fourth last year. My hope was to come back and challenge for the title this year. I got covid in February and was hospitalized. It was a difficult year emotionally, as well, trying to keep my hopes and faith up”.
Women’s 400 metres final:
Yemi Mary John from Great Britain won the women’s 400 metres final in 51.50 setting her third consecutive PB at these championships. Kenya’s Damaris Mutunga, who entered these championships with a PB of 53.71 set at the Kenyan Trials, won the silver medal breaking the national record of 51.71. Rupal from India set her PB of 51.85 to win the bronze medal a few days after taking silver in the mixed 4x400 relay.
Yemi Mary John: “I did not run many races this year, so I felt this one the one to run a personal best in”.
Women’s 400 metres hurdles final:
USA’s Akala Garrett won the women’s 400 metres hurdles in a world under 20 leading time of 56.16 beating Hanna Karlsson from Sweden (56.71). USA’s Michaela Rose stumbled off the penultimate hurdle but she won the bronze medal in 56.86 ahead of South Africa’s Anje Nel(57.47) and Michelle Smith from Virgin Island, who set the national under 20 record with 57.48.
Women’s 3000 metres steeplechase:
Kenya’s Faith Cherotich claimed the world under 20 gold medal in the women’s 3000 metressteeplechase in 9:16.14 beating world under 20 champion Sembo Almayew (9:30.41) and Meseret Yeshaneh from Ethiopia (9:42.02). Cherotich built a five-second lead with two laps to go and increased her lead to 11 seconds at the bell and to 14 seconds in the final lap. Cherotichwon the world under 20 bronze medal in Nairobi last year and clocked 9:12.04 in Nairobi last May.
Saga Vanninen from Finland won the women’s heptathlon with 6084 points becoming the fifth world under 20 champion from Nairobi 2021 to defend their title in Cali.
After finishing the first day in the lead with 3666 points, Vanninen leapt to 6.24m in the long jump and threw 46.21m in the javelin before clocking 2:28.91 in the 800 metres to become the first combined events specialist to win two worldunder 20 titles since Carolina Kluft in Kingston 2002.
Serina Riedel from Germany moved from fifth to second at the end of day two to win the silver medal with 5874 points. Riedel leapt to 6.30m in the long jump, threw 41.47m in the javelin and ran 2:25.53 in the 800 metres.
Sandrina Sprengel set three PBs in the first day and defended her podium position finishing third with 5845 points after 6.03m in the long jump, 42.33m in the long jump and 2:30.82 in the 800m.