Athletes on the start line at Hayward Field in Eugene, USA (© Getty Images)
Eugene’s Hayward Field last weekend hosted the US Junior Championships; the final event at the historic venue ahead of the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, which kick off in exactly two weeks from today.
If the record-breaking results of last weekend are anything to go by, then Oregon 2014 is set to be a special championship indeed.
Among the winners of US junior titles were the likes of Kaylin Whitney, who broke the world youth bests in the 100m and 200m, and heptathlon specialist Kendell Williams, who set a US junior record in the 100m hurdles.
They were the latest top junior performers during a season in which the world junior 100m record was broken by Trayvon Bromell and it looks as though the host nation will field one of its strongest ever junior teams.
The US has topped the medals table at six of the past 10 editions of the IAAF World Junior Championships. Their best medal haul came in 2002 when they bagged 21 medals, but their best tally of gold medals came two years later in 2004 when they topped the podium no fewer than 13 times.
Another target for the US team to chase is the record haul of 22 medals, achieved by the Soviet Union in 1988.
Yesterday (7) marked the deadline for final entries and exact figures will be published later this week, but with 177 member federations having already expressed an interest, the event is set to become the biggest ever IAAF competition on US soil.
In the 28-year history of the event, there have been countless stars of the sport who first came to prominence at the IAAF World Junior Championships. And before the month is out, we will catch a glimpse of the future generation when the world’s top teenage talents descend upon Eugene from 22-27 July.