Maria Fernanda Murillo in the high jump at the IAAF World Youth Championships Cali 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Tampere, Finland

Preview: women’s high jump – IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018

When you break a record that had previously been held by two global champions, it can only be a promising sign.

Earlier this year, Colombia’s Maria Fernanda Murillo broke the South American U20 high jump record with 1.90m. Former holders of that particular continental age-group record include world triple jump champion Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela and Olympic triple jump champion Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia.

Unlike Rojas and Ibarguen, Murillo hasn’t shown any desire to switch events and she underlined her high jump potential by equalling her own South American U20 record to win gold at the South American Games in Cochabamba last month.

Murillo – who is coached by Regla Sandino, the woman who guided Ibarguen during the early stages of her career and led Ioamnet Quintero to the 1993 world high jump title – will aim to become the first Colombian woman to win a world U20 title.

It looks set to be a close competition, though, as Karyna Taranda of Belarus shares the world U20 lead with Murillo at 1.90m. The 19-year-old will be looking to upgrade the silver medal she won at last year’s European U20 Championships.

Lu Jiawen will be the youngest in the field. The 17-year-old recently won the Chinese U18 title with a PB of 1.88m.

Cuba’s Isis Guerra set a PB of 1.87m earlier in the year, but she hasn’t jumped above 1.80m in any of her competitions since the end of April.

Sweden’s Maja Nilsson took the bronze medal behind Taranda at the 2017 European U20 Championships. She too has a PB of 1.90m, set last year, and she improved her indoor best to 1.89m back in February, but she hasn’t competed outdoors so far this year.

Jamaica’s Lamara Distin and US duo Sanaa Barnes and Shelby Tyler have all jumped 1.85m this year, which has sometimes been enough for a medal.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF