Anezka Drahotova after breaking the world junior 10,000m race walk record at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene (© Getty Images)
On the second day of the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014, when eight gold medals were decided, there was plenty to excite the enthusiastic crowd in Hayward Field, and plenty of debate about who should take pride of place.
There were two outstanding combined events competitions and, despite the times being depressed because of the chilly conditions and headwinds, a pair of entertaining 100m finals but, on balance, the plaudits have to go to Czech Republic’s Anezka Drahotova after her 10,000m race walk world junior record.
Drahotova produced the first world junior record* in Eugene with a time of 42:47.25 to obliterate the former mark of 42:59.48, set by Russia’s Yelena Lashmanova in 2011.
The European junior champion set a fast pace from the start and was out on her own from the fourth kilometre.
Behind her though, there was drama and then despair for Russia’s Olga Shargina.
Shargina made a decisive move with 600 metres to go to break away from her two Chinese rivals for the silver medals and crossed the line in second place before embarking on a lap of honour, only to learn that she had been disqualified. Distraught, she dissolved into tears and collapsed on track.
China's Wang Na got the silver medal with 44:02.64 and her compatriot Ni Yuanyaun secured bronze with 44:16.72, a personal best for both.
Morgan Lake added her own page to the book of British successes in the heptathlon when she secured the world junior title with 6148 points, the highest ever score by a youth athlete in a heptathlon with senior implements as the prodigious Briton is still only 17.
Lake had been the clear overnight leader and produced a solid long jump to consolidate pole position but the pivotal point in the competition came when she threw 41.66m in the javelin, a personal best by almost two metres, to repel the potential challenge of Cuba’s 2012 champion Yorgelis Rodriguez.
She then finished the 800m in a personal best of 2:21.06 to emphasise her complete control of the Eugene contest.
Rodriguez’s final score was 6006, higher than her winning total two years ago in Barcelona, but she had to settle for the silver medal on this occasion.
Another British triumph came shortly afterwards in the women’s 100m as Dina Asher-Smith ran 11.23.
Asher-Smith, in lane three, was in front after 10 metres and at the halfway point there was no doubt who was going to take the gold medal as she crossed the line with the second-biggest winning margin in the history of the championships.
Silver went to Ecuador’s Angela Tenorio in 11.39, with USA’s 16-year-old Kaylin Whitney, who will still be eligible to compete at the 2016 IAAF World Junior Championships, taking bronze in 11.45.
If Drahotova, Lake and Asher-Smith’s wins came as no surprise as they were arguably the favourites for their events, there was a massive upset in the men’s 100m when Kendal Williams ran 10.21 to come home ahead of his highly-favoured team-mate Trayvon Bromell.
Despite the conditions, Williams had the race of his life while Bromell, who set a world junior record of 9.97* on the same track last month, never got into his running and took second in 10.28.
Jiri Sykora made history by becoming the first Czech male athlete to win a gold medal in the 28-year history of the World Junior Championships and he did so in impressive fashion by improving the decathlon championship record by nine points with 8135 points.
The 2014 world junior list leader ahead of the championships, Sykora traded the lead with Australia’s first-day leader Cedric Dubler during the second day of the competition.
After he produced a personal best of 60.56m in the javelin, Sykora took the lead for the third time during the competition, taking an advantage of 55 points into the final event. A 1500m personal best of 4:42.10 then ensured that there would be big celebrations in the Czech camp after Drahotova’s spectacular performance earlier in the day.
Fourth two years ago in 2012, Dubler improved in seven of his 10 events and produced an area junior record of 8094 points for the silver medal.
Germany’s Tim Nowak set a German junior record of 7980 points for the bronze medal to complete the highest calibre decathlon ever contested at the championships.
Alemitu Haroye, the world junior cross-country bronze medallist, continued Ethiopia’s successful tradition in distance running by winning the 5000m title with a time of 15:10.08, the seventh victory for Ethiopian runners in 10 editions of the event which came on to the championships programme in 1996.
Haroye led a one-two for her country and outsprinted her team-mate Alemitu Hawi in the final stretch, to finish barely two seconds outside the championship record, held by their compatriot Genzebe Dibaba who ran 15:08.06 in 2010.
Alyona Shamotina won the women’s hammer throw title with a 66.05m effort in the fifth round.
The Ukrainian took the lead in the first round with a 65.44m effort and could have stopped there, as that mark was only bettered by herself.
Akela Jones made a little bit of history when she became the first athlete from Barbados to win a medal of any colour in the history of the championships with a victory in the women's long jump.
Jones took the lead in the opening round with 6.32m and improved to 6.34m into a strong -2.7m/s head wind. It proved to be sufficient for gold, although the conditions contributed to it being the shortest winning distance in the history of the championships.
Norway’s Nadia Akpana Assa, who led the qualification with a national junior record of 6.39m, came a close second with 6.31m.
Earlier in the day, Cuba’s Sahily Diago had complained about the cold and wet conditions during the 800m semi-finals but still had no problem posting the fastest time of the two races when winning her contest in 2:03:60, more than a second faster than the other semi-final, won by Ethiopia’s Zeyituna Mohammed in 2:04.62.
One slight surprise was that Mohammed’s team-mate, world youth silver medallist Dureti Edao, failed to make the final when finishing only fifth in the first semi-final.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF
*subject to the usual ratification procedures