World U20 pole vault champion Hana Moll in action in Cali (© Marta Gorczynska)
An exciting 4.35m pole vault victory for Hana Moll together with a series of swift women’s 200m heats and the continuation of the women’s heptathlon highlighted the fourth morning of action at the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22 on Thursday (4).
US U20 silver medallist Moll cleared 4.35m on her third attempt to capture her first international medal, as the 17-year-old succeeded at 4.20m at the first time of asking and 4.30m on the second attempt, before tackling 4.45m once victory was secured.
German duo Chiara Sistermann and Janna Sophie Ohrt claimed the silver and bronze medals with 4.30m clearances - outdoor lifetime best marks for the pair by 5cm and an impressive 20cm, respectively.
Eighteen-year-old Sistermann flew over the bar on the third attempt, as did 19-year-old Ohrt, while 2021 world U20 silver medallist Elise Russis of France finished fourth with 4.20m.
Moll’s twin sister Amanda, who set a 4.51m world U18 best and area U20 record in March, finished fifth, also with a 4.20m clearance.
"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 prior," said Hana, with the final having been moved from Wednesday afternoon due to adverse conditions.
"I was building confidence in my vault my very first attempts. It was really tough and definitely challenged me. I'm really proud of what we both (she and Amanda) have accomplished this year."
Brahe-Pedersen leads 200m heats
The scene is now set for a superb three-way battle between the best of Jamaica and the USA in a mouth-watering women’s 200m, as the half-lap heats kicked off in the expected swift fashion.
US pair Mia Brahe-Pedersen and Jayla Jamison clocked 23.25 (-0.1m/s) and 23.36 (0.5m/s) respectively to progress to Thursday afternoon’s semifinals, while Jamaica's Brianna Lyston registered 23.56 (-0.3m/s) to ignite her campaign.
Brahe-Pedersen – the 18-year-old 100m seventh-place finisher in Cali – and US champion Jamison will be hoping to claim the gold and silver medals in Friday afternoon’s final but Lyston, with a superb 22.53 lifetime best this season, is aiming to upset their intentions with some silverware of her own.
Other notable qualifiers included Great Britain’s Sophie Walton, who clocked a 23.40 (-0.1m/s) personal best, and Cuba’s Yarima L. Garcia, also with a lifetime best mark of 23.46 (1.1mm/s). France’s Serena Kouassi (23.46, 1.1m/s) and Jamaica’s Alana Reid 23.47 (0.0m/s) will be among those to join them.
The women’s heptathlon continued on day two with the long jump, as Finland’s Saga Vanninen resumed her title defence with a 6.24m (-0.2m/s) leap to collect 924 points and accumulate a 4590 score.
Saga Vanninen in the heptathlon long jump in Cali (© Oscar Munoz Badilla)
The 19-year-old European U20 champion heads the German duo of Sandrina Sprengel and Serina Reidel, who currently sit in the silver and bronze medal positions with 4450 and 4428, respectively.
Eighteen-year-old Sprengel jumped 6.03m (1.1m/s), while Reidel, 19, registered a 6.30m (0.0m/s) season’s best. Estonia’s 17-year-old Liisa-Maria Lusti leapt 6.24m (-0.3m/s) to move into fourth place overall with a 4420 score.
The next event was the javelin and Vanninen extended her lead thanks to a superb 46.21m for 787 points, which moved her score up to 5377 from Sprengel’s 5162 - the latter throwing 42.33m for 712 points.
Reidel held on to the bronze medal position with a 41.47m personal best for 696 points and a 5124 score, while Lusti remained in fourth with 4998, as Latvia’s Gerda Kerija Dreimane ended the morning session in fifth place with a 4989 score.
Impressive starts for Hibbert, Girma and Strachan
Keen to upgrade his silver medal from Nairobi, Jaydon Hibbert launched his bid for triple jump glory with a 16.37m (-0.3m/s) qualification-leading mark ahead of Friday afternoon’s final.
The 17-year-old Jamaican leads the world U20 list with his 16.66m lifetime best from earlier this year, and one other athlete exceeded 16 metres, with Ethan Olivier, 16, from New Zealand leaping a 16.04m (0.7m/s) national U20 record record to also assert his intentions for the final clash.
India’s 17-year-old Selva P. Thirumaran jumped 15.99m (-0.4m/s), while Estonia’s Viktor Morozov recorded a 15.98m (1.0m/s) personal best.
Others to proceed with lifetime best marks were Italy’s Federico Morseletto (15.91m, -0.4m/s), the USA’s Solomon Washington (15.85m, -0.1m/s) and Grigoris Nikolaou of Cyprus (15.84m, 1.3m/s).
Jaydon Hibbert in triple jump qualification at the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22 (© Marta Gorczynska)
After clocking an impressive 1:44.36 in May, Ethiopia’s Ermias Girma started his campaign for 800m victory with a 1:48.39 qualification time for Friday afternoon’s semifinals.
The 17-year-old, who has already claimed 1500m silver in Cali, competed in the heats of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 and will be joined in the next round by his compatriot Mersimoi Kasahun, 18, who clocked 1:48.54.
European U20 silver medallist Kacper Lewalski of Poland (1:48.59) will be looking to improve on his sixth-place finish in Nairobi, while others to move forward include Bader Alsweed of Kuwait (1:48.60) and Norway’s Ole Jakob Solbu (1:48.78).
Last year’s bronze medallist Noah Kibet of Kenya clocked a season’s best of 1:44.89 in May before reaching the 800m semifinals in Oregon, and he ran an easy 1:51.37 to qualify.
“Yesterday, I was feeling some pain in my leg, but today I did not feel anything," said Girma. "It was a bit of a difficult race but I think things are going to take a turn and start to feel better.”
Keyshawn Strachan of The Bahamas unleashed a 76.87m throw to lead the men’s javelin qualifiers for Friday afternoon’s final. The 18-year-old, who placed seventh in Nairobi, set a national U20 record of 79.89m in April and is eager to take the gold medal in Cali.
However, his closest challenger for victory and the pre-event favourite tag lies with Ukraine’s Artur Felfner, 18, who registered 75.77m in qualifying.
The Nairobi silver medallist and European U20 champion reached a world U20-leading lifetime best of 84.32m earlier in the season and heads the entries by more than four metres.
Others to progress included Germany’s Max Dehning (73.10m) and Hungary’s Gyorgy Herczeg (72.63m), plus Eleftherios Kontonikolas of Cyprus (71.20m) and Sri Lanka’s Rumesh Tharanga Pathirage, who recorded a 70.68m lifetime best to qualify.
Ahead of Sunday afternoon’s final, the women’s 1500m heats saw a host of comfortable qualifications, lead by Kenya’s 18-year-old Brenda Chebet with 4:12.20.
Dilek Kocak of Turkey and Japan’s Yuya Sawada both eclipsed their lifetime best marks with 4:14.90 and 4:15.29 respectively, while other names to move forward included Norway’s European U20 champion Ingeborg Ostgard (4:16.36) and Ethiopian duo Birke Haylom and Mebriht Mekonen.
Haylom, 16, has a swift 4:02.25 personal best from May and clocked 4:18.06, as Mekonen, with a 4:03.29 best to her name, qualified with 4:18.97.
The champion in Nairobi and the African silver medallist this season, 19-year-old Purity Chepkirui, registered 4:19.94 to begin her metric mile title defence.
The fastest qualifiers for Friday afternoon’s women’s 100m hurdles semifinals were led by Jamaican pair Alexis James and Kerrica Hill.
Eighteen-year-old James clocked a 13.03 (0.1.m/s) lifetime best, while Hill, 17, ran 13.30 (0.6m/s), the Nairobi 4x100m gold medallist and 100m seventh-place finisher having registered a fine 12.98 to win the national title this summer.
Other notable names to progress included Germany’s Hawa Jalloh (13.20, 0.1m/s), USA’s Jalaysiya Smith (13.42, 0.3m/s) and Jalloh’s teammate Naomi Krebs with a 13.45 (0.1m/s) personal best.
Indonesia’s Dina Aulia achieved a 13.44 (0.2m/s) national U20 record to also advance.
Nicola Sutton for World Athletics