Athing Mu in action at the Charlie Thomas Invitational (© Errol Anderson)
Two of the world’s most talented teenagers produced stand-out performances on either side of the Atlantic on Saturday (6).
USA’s Athing Mu sped to a 50.52 clocking to win the 400m at the Charlie Thomas Invitational in College Station. If ratified, the 18-year-old’s time would improve the official world U20 indoor record of 50.82 set by 2012 Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross.
The fastest indoor time ever achieved by an U20 sprinter, however, remains the 50.36 clocking set by Sydney McLaughlin in 2018; her time could not be ratified as a world U20 indoor record. Mu now moves to 20th on the senior world all-time indoor list and fourth on the senior US list.
In recent weeks, Mu has been lighting up indoor tracks on the US collegiate circuit. She clocked a North American U20 indoor record of 2:01.07 for 800m in January and followed it one week later with a world-leading 1:25.80 run over 600m. Last week she ran a 50.5 anchor leg in a 4x400m in Lubbock, hinting at her potential for the individual 400m.
Jamaica’s Charokee Young finished a distant second to Mu in College Station, running 51.93.
The men’s 400m in College Station also produced some swift times with Noah Williams setting an outright PB of 45.47 to win from Sean Burrell (45.57). St Lucia’s Julien Alfred won the women’s 60m in 7.17, having clocked 7.15 in the heats.
Adrian Piperi, the 2015 world U18 shot put champion, produced a big PB of 21.74m to move up to 11th on the US indoor all-time list.
European U20 long jump champion Larissa Iapichino got her 2021 campaign off to a flying start, quite literally, at the Italian U23/U20 Championships in Ancona on Saturday (6).
The 18-year-old leapt an indoor PB of 6.53m in the second round, beating her own national U20 indoor record, and then improved to 6.70m in round three. She went even farther in the fifth round, leaping 6.75m.
Her winning mark moves her up to fourth on the world U20 indoor all-time list and is just 13 centimetres shy of the world U20 indoor record set by Heike Drechsler back in 1983.
Lafond equals world lead, Campbell-Brown returns
Thea Lafond of Dominica regained a share of the world lead in the triple jump at the East Coast Invitational in Virginia Beach on Saturday (6).
The 26-year-old started with three fouls but landed a safe valid jump of 13.54m in round four. She then bounded out to 14.54m, adding two centimetres to her own outright national record, in round five before ending her series with 14.40m.
Three years since her last race, Jamaica’s two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown returned to action in the 60m in Virginia Beach.
The 38-year-old finished second in 7.34 in a race won by Tamari Davis in 7.18. USA’s 2016 world indoor champion Barbara Pierre was third in 7.35. Elsewhere, world 400m champion Steven Gardiner won the 200m in 20.71.
Randolph Ross, last year’s world indoor leader over 400m, came close to his PB at the South Carolina Invitational in Columbia. The 20-year-old won the two-lap event in 45.79 to win from Trevor Stewart (46.00).
Abby Steiner continued her strong form and completed a sprint double with an equal 60m PB of 7.22 and a 200m season’s best of 22.69.
World shot put champion Joe Kovacs opened his 2021 season at the Hoosier Hills Invitational in Bloomington, smashing his indoor PB with 21.70m.
While most US athletics action this weekend has come from indoor meetings, there were also some top outdoor performances at the Prickly Pear Invitational in Phoenix.
Britain’s Marc Scott produced a sub-55-second final lap to win the men’s 3000m in 7:36.08 – a time that moves him up to fourth on the British all-time list behind Mo Farah, Dave Moorcroft and Brendan Foster. Grant Fischer was second in 7:37.21 with Sean McGorty (7:37.47) and Joe Klecker (7:39.18) finishing close behind.
Gabrielle DeBues-Stafford won the women’s race in a PB of 8:38.51, finishing comfortably ahead of steeplechase specialist Colleen Quigley (8:40.23), Karissa Schweizer (8:40.25) and Elise Cranny (8:40.33).
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics