Australia had a fantastic opening day of the IAAF U20 World Championships with personal best performances and many athletes progressing to semi-finals and finals. The decathletes and Ash Moloney (QLD) in particular were on fire.
After slipping to third at the end of the morning session, Moloney bounced back in the final two decathlon events of the day to be in a commanding position with his main competition being his teammate Gary Haasbroek. Moloney set three personal best performances in three of the five events including a decathlon championship record in the100m.
In the high jump Moloney added seven centimetres to his lifetime best raising it from 2.03m to 2.10m. After a short rest he was back on the track for the 400m and ran a sensational 46.86 to record yet another personal record. He started the day with a decathlon championship best in the 100m (10.51). And despite a below par long jump (first two fouls) and shot put, he closed the day with a 216 points lead over Haasbroek and 63 points ahead of his personal best schedule.
Haasbroek’s very consistent day continued, raising his high jump best to 2.01m and running just outside his 400m best clocking 49.20, closing the day in second place on 4103 pts. He remains a real danger as his personal best is only 17 points behind Moloney and he is 77 points ahead of that pace.
Moloney is feeling confident and full of praise for his coach Eric Brown and the crowds.
“I trust what my coach (Eric Brown) says as he has brought me up to this level.”
“The energy is phenomenal and the crowd really helped me down that home straight of the 400m.
“I’m confident (about tomorrow) but let’s just see what happens and let my performances do the talking.”
Haasbroek is confident about his prospects on day two.
“I know I have a few strong events coming up on day two,” Haasbroek said. “My last three events are strong compared to most decathletes. Not many decathletes have a 55 metre plus jav, 4.80m pole vault and then sub-4:30 1500m, so that is what I’m hoping to do tomorrow.”
The Frenchman Mekenson Gletty who was second after four events, failed to finish the 400m, and the world leading Russian is back in seventh.
Australia has never won this event previously. Moloney’s training partner Cedric Dubler won silver in 2014 and Jake Stein in 2012.
Harvey produces personal best in epic shot put final
Aiden Harvey (NSW) has produced personal best performances when it matters most – in the final of the men’s shot put at the World U20s in Finland.
The 19-year-old finished in seventh place with a his superb series of throws which included five throws over 19 metres, and topped off with 19.85m on his final effort to move to second on the Australian U20 all-time list. His best mark was some 43cm beyond his personal best coming into the competition.
His training partner Alexander Kolesnikoff (NSW) was disappointed with his performance of 18.28m which left him in 11th. The 18-year-old had thrown 18.93m in the morning session to qualify for the final and 19.74m last month.
Both athletes are coached by David Bruce and will benefit from being part of an epic final. South African Kyle Blignaut and American Adrian Piperi pushed each other over 22 metres, with Blignaut winning by one centimetre with 22.07m over Piperi’s Area record.
Torley runs season’s best as Kenya claim 10,000m
Joshua Torley (ACT), only the second Australian ever to contest the 10000m at a World U20 Championships, has run a season’s best of 31:09.94 to place 18th.
Torley stuck with the lead pace early but after two kilometres the field was already stretched. At half-way Torley was in 12th but his decision to stay with the pace early started to take its toll as was passed in the back-half of the race.
The 19-year-old was down on his breakthrough performance at the Zatopek classic in December when he ran 29:58.94.
Kenyan Rhonex Kipruto ran a championship record of 27:21.08 of win by the length of the straight. Fittingly Uganda took the silver (Kiplimo, 27:40.36) and Ethiopia (Aregawi, 27:48.41) the bronze as it was the runners from these three nations that set the pace and broke up the field in the early kilometres.
Connolly through to 400m semis with season best
Ella Connolly (QLD) ran a big season’s best of 52.99s to win her heat of the 400m and progress to the semi-finals tomorrow evening (day two).
Connolly went out hard from lane six and led throughout. When the challengers came off the final bend she maintained composure and controlled the race through to the line.
“I knew I needed to relax so I had enough energy down the final straight, so the plan was to stay relaxed and get into a rhythm,” Connolly said.
“I’m happy things are coming together at the right time and looking forward to what tomorrow brings.”
Connolly’s personal best of 52.72 was run when she won silver at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games.
Injury ruined her chances of qualifying for the Commonwealth Games and it is great to see her back nearing her best. She will race the semi-finals tomorrowevening (Wednesday, 11 July).
Indian Hima Das, who was the fifth at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, was the most impressive in the heats. She strolled home in 52.25.
OJ can’t match 5,000m pace as Kenya take first gold – done
Clio Ozanne-Jaques (QLD), nickname OJ, has made huge progress in recent years and came to Finland looking for another personal best and to break 16-minutes in the 5,000m final.
But it wasn’t her best day and the fast pace up the front had to be a factor.
The 18-year-old fought on gallantly to finish 13th in 16:46.75, just over 30 seconds off her best.
At the front of the pack there was a great battle between the Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes, with all three medallists running personal bests. Kenyan Beatrice Chebet (15:30.77) won the sprint finish for the first gold of the championships ahead of Ethiopian Ejgayehu Taye (15:30.87).
Hyde-Cooling off her best
Lauren Hyde-Cooling (WA) couldn’t find her rhythm in the pole vault, at the start of the afternoon session on day one. She cleared her first attempt at 3.65m but couldn’t get over 3.80m.
The 18-year-old, who is coached by Olympian Paul Burgess, cleared 4.06m at the Trials in March.
Hyde-Cooling finished her championships in 27th place, with progression to the final requiring a height of 4.10m.
Kia gets great discus experience
The youngest member of the Australian Team, Talosaga Kia (QLD) performed well in discus qualifying but won’t progress to the final.
The 16-year-old, who is eligible for the 2020 championships threw 48.44m on her first attempt but could not improve from there. She finished ranked 19th, with 49.81m being enough to reach the final. Kia was just under one metre down from the personal best she threw at the Trials.
Alexandrea Emelianova from Moldova threw 57.05m to be the favourite for the final.
Highlights from the morning session on Tuesday 10 July
- Montanna McAvoy (QLD) and Brielle Erbacher (QLD) qualified for the 3000m steeplechase final with personal best performances. McAvoy breaking the 10-minute barrier with 9:59.67 and Erbacher 10:09.43.
- Callum Davies (QLD) ran a personal best (3:46.32) to place fourth in his 1500m heat and qualify for the final. Paralympian Jaryd Clifford (VIC) ran a great race for eighth in his heat but 3:47.77 was not quick enough for him progress. He created history as the first Australian Paralympian to compete in an able-bodied world championships.
- In the 800m, Carley Thomas (QLD) was second in her heat and Jemima Russell (VIC) fourth in hers, with both Australians progressing to the semi-finals.
- Jake Doran (QLD) finished second in his heat to progress to the semi-finals, as Josh Azzopardi (NSW) just missed out
- Shot put training partners Aiden Harvey (NSW) and Alexander Kolesnikoff (NSW) progressed through to the evenings final.
- Ashley Moloney (QLD) was 3rd and Gary Haasbroek (VIC) 6th after the first three events. Moloney ran a championship record in the 100m of 10.51 to start the competition.