Kerrica Hill and Letsile Tebogo
As the countdown to the World Athletics Awards 2022 continues, we shine a spotlight on the five women and five men who have been nominated for this year’s Rising Star awards.
The winners will be selected by an international panel of experts and be announced on World Athletics’ social media platforms in early December.
Kerrica Hill capped an impressive year with two record-breaking performances at the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22.
First the 17-year-old formed part of the Jamaican women’s 4x100m quartet that broke the world record with 42.59 to win gold. That same day she set a world U20 lead of 12.87 in the 100m hurdles semifinals and returned to the track 24 hours later to take the title in 12.77, breaking the championship record with a time that moved her to fifth on the world U20 all-time list.
“I came this far, and I accomplished what I wanted to,” she said after her 100m hurdles victory. “I was just focused on winning the race. My success last night (in the 4x100m) was inspiring because it helped me come out here and do my very best.”
She might have been the second youngest in the 100m hurdles field, but Hill had gone into the event as one of the favourites thanks to her Jamaican U20 title win in 12.98 in June.
She also won when racing over the 76.2cm barriers at the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Champs in Kingston in April, clocking 12.71 – a world U18 best. Her 12.77 performance in Cali was also a world U18 best over the senior height barriers and she set three of the five fastest U20 times of the season, the other two recorded by her compatriot Alexis James, who secured silver in Cali.
In the 100m, Hill set a PB of 11.16 to complete a double at the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Champs.
A series of superb sprint performances saw Botswana's Letsile Tebogo secure the spotlight at the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22.
The 19-year-old set the tone with the world U20 100m record he achieved in the heats at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, clocking 9.94 to gain a place in the semifinals. Not willing to stop there, Tebogo then travelled to Colombia to defend his world U20 100m title and also race for top spot in the 200m after securing silver in Nairobi last year.
He opened his campaign in style, running a 10.00 championship record in the 100m heats on the first day of action. That record didn’t stand for long. The following day he returned to the track to retain his title in a blistering 9.91 – improving his own world U20 record despite celebrating with 30 metres to go.
“As soon as I was out of the blocks, I was two steps ahead of everyone,” he said. “So I knew that the title was mine. I didn't worry about the time, I didn't even look.”
Come the 200m final, he didn’t have chance to look. After setting another championship record of 19.99 in his 200m heat the morning after his 100m triumph, he was on the hunt for a second gold medal. This time he had Israel’s 18-year-old Blessing Akawasi Afrifah for company and they pushed each other to a championship record of 19.96, that joint time moving them to equal third on the world U20 all-time list.
There was just six thousandths of a second in it as Afrifah got gold and Tebogo silver.
After six races in four days, Tebogo said: “This is the best race that I have ever run in my life so far. I’m really grateful for the performance and it’s not everybody who can run these fast times, four days in a row.”