Venezuelan pole vaulter Robeilys Peinado (© Getty Images)
The best young athletes from nearly 200 countries will soon be on their way to Eugene for the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, which begin in exactly one week’s time on 22 July.
As featured in the latest edition of SPIKES, here are 10 talented teenagers who will be among the medal contenders at Oregon 2014. Full event-by-event previews will be published on the IAAF website later this week.
Jamaica – 400m hurdles
Jaheel Hyde blitzed to a championship record of 13.13 en route to world youth 110m hurdles gold last summer, and in March set a national junior record of 49.49 in the 400m hurdles. This result ranked him world No.1 (for a week).
Venezuela – pole vault
A pole vaulting super talent, Peinado spent last summer beating 17-year-olds to win world youth gold – aged just 15! With a best of 4.40m, she’s one to watch both in Eugene in July and at the Youth Olympics in August.
Cuba – triple jump
Still only 16, the teen triple jump sensation won world youth gold last year and has already leapt a monster 17.24m this season. Only Christian Taylor and Will Claye could beat him at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome.
Iceland – 800m
The 18-year-old favourite for 800m gold became her country’s first ever world champion at the World Youths last July and was fourth at the World Juniors two years ago.
Korea – high jump
The teenage high jumper cleared a PB of 2.20m on his way to the world youth title last year, and added another centimetre to his record during the indoor season. He turned 18 in April.
Sweden – 100m and 200m
Last year, the Pakistan-born sprinter broke the Swedish indoor 200m record and then took world youth gold in a PB and championship record of 22.92. She only turned 17 in March.
Australia – hammer and discus
The multi-talented thrower won discus gold and hammer bronze at the Donetsk 2013 World Youth Championships, and he will be in action in both at Hayward Field.
Romania – long jump and triple jump
Just like her compatriot Cristine Spataru 10 years earlier, Marincu won world youth gold in the long and triple jump in Donetsk last summer. Her season’s best of 13.81m made her the top-ranked under-20 athlete of 2013.
Japan – 100m
More than 100,000 people have watched the YouTube clip of Kiryu, in pink shorts, clocking 10.01 in the 100m last April. Now 18, he could become the first man of Asian descent to go sub-10. Also a 60m world indoor semi-finalist in March.
Ethiopia – 1500m
She took silver at last year’s World Youths, then followed it with gold at the African Junior Championships. This year she has dipped below the four-minute barrier to set a national junior record. She will turn 18 on the final day of competition in Eugene, which, coincidentally, is when the women’s 1500m is held.