Matthew Sophia of the Netherlands in the 110m hurdles heats at the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22 (© Marta Gorczynska)
Nine gold medals have already been claimed and another six are up for grabs on day three of the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22.
From the heptathlon 100m hurdles at 8:30am local time through to the women’s 100m at 6:35pm, here are just three of the finals to follow at the Pascual Guerrero Olympic Stadium on Wednesday (3).
Sophia shoots for gold
He won his heat in a PB of 13.10, made it through the semifinals in 13.43, and now Matthew Sophia will go for gold in the 110m hurdles final. The Dutch 18-year-old claimed two silver medals at last year’s European U20 Championships, finishing runner up in the 110m hurdles and the 4x100m, but he has already proven in Cali that he has what it takes to make it to the top of the podium this time around. His 13.10 was achieved despite knocking a few barriers and he also managed to keep his composure despite stumbling in his semifinal.
“It’s actually kind of funny,” he said after his heat win. “You train so many years just to run a few seconds and then there is this time that is pretty good. But the race went by so fast.”
He’ll hope the final goes by even faster, with him to the fore, as he takes on a field featuring Antoine Andrews, who ran a Bahamian U20 record of 13.36 to win his heat and then took his semifinal in 13.39, plus Australia’s Tayleb Willis and US U20 champion Malik Mixon. They’ll be joined by Austria’s Enzo Diessl, Australia’s Mitchell Lightfoot, Jamaica’s Demario Prince and Serbia’s Bogdan Vidojkovic.
Godbless leads 100m clash
Another athlete to have made a statement in her heat is Nigeria’s Tima Seikeseye Godbless, who ran a national U20 record of 11.09 to lead the first-round performances in the women's 100m. The 18-year-old, who finished fourth at the African Championships in June, had a previous PB of 11.25 set at that competition in St Pierre. Now she goes into Wednesday’s semifinals as the second-quickest on the start lists behind 17-year-old defending champion Tina Clayton, who ran a Jamaican U20 record of 10.96 in June and clocked 11.38 to win her heat.
N’Ketia Seedo of the Netherlands also stepped up in the heats, running a PB of 11.16, and will line up alongside athletes including Clayton and Britain’s recent European U18 champion Nia Wedderburn-Goodison in the second semifinal. Godbless goes in the third semifinal, while the first features US champion Shawnti Jackson, the daughter of 2005 world 400m hurdles champion Bershawn Jackson who eased to a heat win in an equal PB of 11.28.
After the semifinals at 4:05pm local time, the final then takes place two-and-a-half hours later.
Moll twins aim high
The head-to-head in the women’s pole vault looks set to involve twins Amanda and Hana Moll, with the 17-year-old US athletes separated by just 4cm when it comes to personal best performances.
Amanda achieved her 4.51m clearance at the Texas Relays in March – a world U18 best that also improved the US U20 record. Hana, meanwhile, cleared 4.47m indoors in January.
“It means a lot to me to be here with my sister Amanda,” said Hana after they both cleared 4.05m to secure their places in the final.
“We're on our own paths, and we're not the exact same – we're aware of that. We know that one of us might do better and one of us might not but there are great things for both of us.”
While they look to push each other on to the podium, they will go up against the likes of France’s Elise Russis and Germany’s Chiara Sistermann, who have both vaulted 4.30m this year, while Finland’s Silja Andersson, France’s Lea Mauberret and Canada’s Heather Abadie have all also gone over 4.20m so far in 2022.
Jess Whittington for World Athletics