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Press Release22 Aug 2021


World Athletics hails "highly successful" World U20 Championships in Nairobi

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Nairobi passes the World Athletics flag to Cali (© Jean-Pierre Durand)

The World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi have earned their place in the history books with four world U20 records, 15 championship records, 11 area U20 records, 68 national U20 records and 10 national senior records.

The championships ended with a flourish on Sunday (22) as the Jamaican women and the South African men broke world U20 records in the 4x100m relays, adding to the two world U20 records set by France's Sasha Zhoya in the men's 110m hurdles.

The home team Kenya topped the medal table with eight gold, one silver and seven bronze medals, ahead of Finland (4, 1, 0), Nigeria (4, 0, 3), Ethiopia (3, 7, 2) and Jamaica (3, 6, 2).

From more than 100 countries that competed in Nairobi, 18 teams won gold medals, 35 won medals and 63 had top eight finishes. 

Kenya, Finland, Nigeria and Botswana were among the countries that had their best ever world U20 championships. Namibia and Israel won their first gold medals and Cyprus won its first medal.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe hailed the athletes, teams and organisers for their dedication and determination to make this a successful event despite the logistical challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The championships were broadcast to more than 70 countries around the world and every other country had access to a livestream on World Athletics’ YouTube channel.

"These championships have not just taken place, they have been highly successful," Coe said. "We have all been so impressed with the range and depth of talent we have seen from these young athletes. 

"The last World U20 championships (in Tampere in 2018) featured names like Armand Duplantis, Jakob Ingebrigtsen  and Peruth Chemutai among others, all Olympic champions just three years later. So it's reasonable to think we've seen some of the Paris 2024 champions-to-be In Nairobi.

"The next four years offers unprecedented opportunities for these future champions to move on to the senior World Championships and Olympic stages. I'm really looking forward to seeing many of these young champions rising through the senior ranks."

Many of the younger athletes who have featured in Nairobi will also have the chance to compete at the next World Athletics U20 Championships, being held in Cali, Colombia, next year.

The flag was passed from Nairobi to Cali at tonight's closing ceremony in Kasarani Stadium.

The World Athletics U20 Championships in numbers:

RECORDS SET

4 world U20 records: (Sasha Zhoya FRA in the 110m hurdles - 12.93 semifinal and 12.72 final; Jamaica in the women’s 4x100m relay – 42.94; South Africa in the men’s 4x100m relay – 38.51)

15 championship records: (Anthony Pesela BOT in the men’s 400m - 44.58; Emmanuel Wanyonyi KEN in the men’s 800m – 1:43.76; Tadese Worku ETH in the men’s 3000m - 7:42.09; Sasha Zhoya FRA in the 110m hurdles - 12.93 and 12.72; Mykolas Alekna LTU in the men’s Discus Throw – 69.81; South Africa in the men’s 4x100m – 38.51; Christine Mboma NAM 22.41 semifinal, Beatrice Masiilingi NAM 22.19 semifinal and Mboma 21.84 final in the women’s 200m; Silja Kosonen FIN in the women’s hammer - 71.64m; Jamaica in the women’s 4x100m – 42.94; Mixed 4x400m (new event) India in heat 1 - 3:23.36, Nigeria in heat 2 - 3:21.66 and Nigeria in final - 3:19.70)

11 area U20 records: (Mire Reinstorf RSA in the women’s pole vault – 4.15m; Mine De Klerk RSA in the women’s discus – 53.50m; Jamaica in the women’s 4x100m – 42.94; Sasha Zhoya FRA in the 110m hurdles - 12.93 semifinal and 12.72 final; men’s 4x100m Poland with 38.93 in the heat and 38.90 in the final, South Africa and Nigeria =AR both 39.33 in the heats, South Africa 38.51 and Jamaica 38.61 in the final)

68 national U20 records

10 national senior records

259 personal bests 

MEDALS AND PLACINGS

18 countries won gold medals (9 from Europe, 6 from Africa, 3 from the Americas)

35 countries won medals

63 countries finished in top 8 (point scoring position)

Israel and Namibia have their first ever world U20 champions (Yonathan Kapitolnik in the men's high jump and Christine Mboma in the women's 200m).

Cyprus won its first medal (Styliana Ioannidou, bronze in the women’s high jump).

Hong Kong China, Kosovo, Malta, Oman and South Sudan have had their first finalists. 

HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Over 5000 LAMP tests were conducted.

Over 4000 PCR tests were conducted.

Around 10,000 antigen tests were conducted for LOC staff and volunteers, who were tested every day.

BROADCAST

The Championships have been broadcast in more than 70 countries.

Every other country has had access to a livestream through the World Athletics YouTube channel.

In Kenya, the local free-to-air broadcaster NTV has had around 1 million viewers tune in to the Championships each day.

World Athletics

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