Jake Norris of Great Britain spins to hammer gold at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 (© Getty Images)
The hammer final was very much Jake Norris’s to lose after his two principal rivals – including world U20 leader Christos Frantzeskakis from Greece – exited in qualifying and the Brit duly lived up to expectations in his last major competition throwing with the 6kg implement at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018.
Norris has been more accustomed to competing with the senior implement this season but the Brit performed excellently with the lighter implement, bowing out with both the gold medal – Britain’s first medal in a men’s throwing event since 1998 – and an improvement on his British U20 record.
Norris started his competition tentatively, opening his series with a no-throw followed by a valid mark of 73.18m to make the cut but the 19-year-old went all out with his third attempt, taking the lead with 78.17m before extending it further with a British U20 record of 80.65m on his fourth. With the gold medal ensured, Norris almost matched that mark with a celebratory sixth round throw of 80.55m.
The Ukrainian challenge also took time to come to life but Myhaylo Kokhan eventually found his range with his fifth throw. He recorded one valid throw from his first four efforts – including two which hit the turf at about 78 metres albeit on the wrong side of the sector – but the 17-year-old got it right on his fifth attempt, moving into silver medal position with a lifetime best of 79.68m.
This was his second major medal in less than a week after winning the European U18 title in Gyor on Saturday (7) with a world U18 best of 87.82m. He will be looking to further embellish his medal collection at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires later this year.
Kokhan didn’t improve with his final effort but his teammate Myhaylo Havrylyuk – the older of the two Ukrainians competing in the final – displaced Sweden’s Ragnar Carlsson from the bronze medal position with his final round throw of 77.71m by nine centimetres.
Mercifully the conditions remained dry and benign for the entirety of the final. The top five throwers all set lifetime bests with the top five rounded out by France’s Hugo Tavernier, the younger brother of 2015 world bronze medallist Alexandra, who also improved his best ever mark to 75.99m.
Steven Mills for the IAAF