Hungarian hammer thrower Bence Halasz (© Getty Images)
With the six longest throws in the world by an U20 athlete this year, Hungary’s Bence Halasz looks poised to add the world U20 crown to the European title he won in this age category last year.
Despite their proud tradition in the throws, Hungary has never taken this title in the 16 editions of this championships, but that run may be set to end when Halasz takes to the throwing circle next week.
The 18-year-old set a Hungarian U20 record of 81.76m in Szombathely back in May and then extended it to 82.64m last month. If he reproduces the same in Bydgoszcz, he could be celebrating gold next Friday evening.
Finland’s Aleksi Jaakkola is the only one of his rivals to surpass the 80-metre barrier this year, throwing a national U20 record of 80.54m in Nokia in April. He reproduced medal-winning form in recent weeks with a throw of 78.67m in Nurmijarvi and should present the strongest challenge to Halasz. Jaakkola’s teammate Aaron Kangas has a best of 78.10m, a repeat of which may be enough to get him a spot on the podium.
The African challenge is led by Egypt’s Ahmed Tarek Ismail, who has added four metres to his best this year, his longest throw of 78.62m coming on foreign soil in Szombathely, Hungary a fortnight ago.
Ukraine’s Hlib Pisnukov, who threw a PB of 79.16m on home soil in Kirovohrad last month, should also be in contention, while Daniel Raba of Hungary, who has a best of 77.76m this year, is another who will be eyeing up a podium finish.
The US challenge is led by Robert Colantonio Jr, whose best throw of 74.12m was produced to win at the US Junior Championships in Clovis, California last month.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF