Australia's Jack Hale (© Getty Images)
Teenage sprinter Jack Hale stunned his opponents at the Australian All Schools Championships in Adelaide on Saturday (6) after winning the 100m in a wind-assisted 10.13, the fastest time ever recorded under any conditions by a youth athlete.
Aided by a 3.4m/s tailwind, Hale came through strong in the second half to take the victory, overtaking Rohan Browning, who finished second in 10.18, and Trae Williams, who clocked 10.33 in third place.
Earlier in the day, Hale posted the fastest time in the heats with a 10.73 clocking into a -2.8m/s breeze. Officials then switched the direction of the 100m final to ensure conditions would be conducive to fast times.
His performance has marked him out as one of the early favourites for next year’s IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia.
“My start was terrible, but I came home strong to win,” said Hale, who earlier this year set an Australian youth best of 10.42. “It’s the first time ever I’ve had someone to chase down. To have that competition makes me really happy because it means my time came down to what it did.
“The winds were really strong, but the plan is to go somewhere like that with legal conditions,” added Hale, who on Sunday went on to win the 200m in a wind-legal 21.29. “Rohan was next to me across the race. He has one of the greatest starts you’ll ever see in your life and with 20 metres to go he had me. I’m just impressed with how it played out. It was a great race.”
Although Hale’s wind-assisted 10.13 won’t count for record purposes, it is faster than the windy 10.17 (3.8m/s) set in 1987 by USA’s Quincy Watts, the previous holder of the fastest ever time set by a youth athlete under any conditions.
The official world youth best is held by Japan’s Yoshihide Kiryu at 10.19, but Hale will have the whole of the 2016 season in which to attack that mark.
Hale, whose PB of 7.66m puts him second on the 2014 world youth lists, had hoped to contest the long jump in Adelaide, but withdrew from the event at the last minute.
All three of his PBs set in recent months – 10.42 in the 100m, 21.29 in the 200m and 7.66m in the long jump – exceed Athletics Australia’s qualifying standards for the World Youth Championships.
His next target is the Australian Junior Championships in March, where the outcome of the under-18 finals will decide which athletes will qualify for the World Youth Championships.
Records in the hammer
Hammer thrower Ned Weatherly added almost two metres to the meeting record set last year by world youth bronze medallist Matt Denny. His mark of 79.03m was enough to win by more than 10 metres and takes him to third on this year’s world youth lists.
Like Hale, Weatherly will be young enough to compete at next year’s World Youth Championships. After winning the shot and taking silver in the discus in Adelaide, Weatherly may even decide to double up in Cali.
In the girls’ hammer, Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Alex Hulley broke her own national youth record, throwing 71.14m in her final competitions as a youth athlete. Her winning mark moved her to fifth on the world youth all-time list.
“This is my last competition with the 3kg hammer, so it’s good to close with a personal best,” said Hulley.
Elsewhere, Andrea Thompson set a PB of 6.10m to win the girls’ long jump with a Cali qualifier. Kirsty Williams won the discus with 50.91m, while second-placed Samantha Peace hit a World Youths qualifying mark with 47.93m in second place.
Clara Smith narrowly missed the World Youth qualifying mark in the girls’ 5000m, but was rewarded with a meeting record after stopping the clock at 23:24.64. The meeting record also fell in the boys’ event with Tyler Jones winning in 21:03.56.
Jon Mulkeen and Athletics Australia for the IAAF