A pair of national U20 100m records by Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo and Namibia’s Beatrice Masilingi and a strong start by Finnish heptathlete Saga Vanninen highlighted the first morning of action at the World Athletics U20 Championships at Kasarani Stadium on Wednesday.
Vanninen, the reigning European U20 champion, showed she is well on track to become Finland’s first ever world U20 heptathlon gold medallist by shooting out to an early lead, clocking 13.60 in the 100m hurdles and clearing a season’s best of 1.78m in the high jump. The 18-year-old’s hurdles time was just outside her best of 13.55 while her high jump was just 1cm down on her best.
Austria’s Sophie Kreiner is her closest pursuer on 1860 points after a 14.51 100m hurdles and 1.78m high jump, while Estonia’s Pippi Lotta Enok sits third on 1855 points after a 14.28 clocking in the hurdles and 1.75m clearance in the high jump.
On what was a cool morning at the Kasarani Stadium, Tebogo lit up the men’s 100m heats, the Botswanan underlining his credentials for gold with a commanding performance to win in 10.22 (0.7m/s) which made him the quickest qualifier for Wednesday evening’s semifinals.
Next fastest was South Africa’s Benjamin Richardson who won his heat in 10.28 (1.0m/s). Nigeria’s Godson Oke Oghenebrume showed he will also be in medal contention when taking victory in 10.35 (0.8m/s) while there were also wins for Cuba’s Shainer Rengifo Montoya (10.40), Poland’s Oliwer Wdowik (10.44) and Jamaica’s Bryan Levell (10.43).
Namibia’s Masilingi was most impressive in her heat of the women’s 100m, powering to victory in a national U20 record of 11.20 (1.0m/s). The next quickest qualifier in the other heats was Jamaica’s Tina Clayton, who clocked 11.50 (-0.1m/s).