Jordan Diaz at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires (© Lukas Schulze for OIS/IOC)
A flurry of Youth Olympic Games Records fell in the field as the sun shone on the third day of athletics in Buenos Aires on Saturday (13).
The six-metre exploits of Armand Duplantis and Timur Morgunov made 2018 the year of the pole vault pretenders – it was evident at the Youth Olympic Park that more lie in wait. While Estonia's Eerik Haamer put up a clearance 5cm superior to Noel-Aman del Cierro Vilalta’s previous championship best of 5.10m, he couldn't defeat Russia's Dmitriy Kachanov, who made that height first time and went on to clear 5.20m.
Impressive vaulting, but still some 10cm short of Kachanov’s personal best. More could come in the second stage decider, where one would expect France’s Baptiste Thiery – who also owns a 5.30m PB – to also challenge.
Two athletes also bettered the previous record in the women’s triple jump. Both Bulgaria's Aleksandra Nacheva and Spain's Maria Vicente hop-step-jumped out to 13.76m in round two to write their names in the books. The stage one win, however, goes to Nacheva, courtesy of her superior second best mark of 13.11m.
There was more history in the first stages of the men’s triple jump and women’s javelin, as Jordan Diaz and Elina Tzengo also bagged records.
Competing in front of a packed and boisterous stand on the back straight, Cuban Diaz – the world U18 and U20 champion – opened up with a record breaking 16.70m, improving it with 17.14m in round two before passing his remaining efforts. Nigeria’s Ineh Emmeanuel Oritsemeyiwa was next best with 16.34m (+2.3).
“I’m happy with the mark, yes,” said Diaz. “I don’t have a distance in my head for the second stage, but my aim is always to improve.”
Elina Tzengo was also on the double in the javelin. After fouling her first effort – which went out beyond the championships record line – the Greek thrower set a personal best and Youth Olympic record of 62.47m in round two, bettering it with her final effort of 63.34m. No other athlete was over 60m, including China’s Ying Wang, who entered as the best ranked athlete but could only produce 54.77m for fifth.
The men’s javelin was won by Jano Esterhuizen, of South Africa, with a personal best 77.69m. Argentine Gustavo Agustin Osorio placed second with 76.03m – also a personal best – to give the home crowd a performance to cheer in a more partisan manner.
Of course, like all field events, medals will be decided by combined scores across two stages. Those records, although impressive, will only yield hardware if the athletes can perform once more in stage two.
Qatari strength on show on the track
Less than 12 months out from the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019, a pair of Qatari athletes showed good turns of speed on the track.
Owaab Barrow recorded a personal best 13.33 to lead after stage one of the men’s 110m hurdles. Sharp from the gun, he flew through the middle section to record his lifetime best and earn a small cushion going into the second stage. Hong Kong’s Lok Hei Addis Wong was next best, winning his heat in 13.74, while Morocco's Abderrazzak Mouzdahir and France's Kenny Fletcher – fastest coming into the Games – both recorded 13.76 to lie within striking distance.
And another Qatari was quickest in the men’s 200m, as Abdelaziz Mohamed set a personal best 21.10 to win his heat and lead ahead of stage two. Second swiftest overall was heat two winner, Jamaica’s Antonio Watson, who recorded 21.33. The Jamaican is a sub-21 runner at his best: his and Mohamed’s second stage clash will be one to watch.
In the women’s half-lapper, European youth champion Gudbjorg Jona Bjarnadottir set an Icelandic record as she recorded the fastest time of the three heats. The 16-year-old clocked 23.55 to win her heat with some comfort ahead of Brazil’s Leticia Maria Nonato Lima, who recorded 24.16 to go into stage two second overall.
Cabezas Caracas was the fastest stage one runner in the women’s 400m hurdles. The Colombian, owning the fastest time of all the entrants, won the first of the three heats in 59.19, although her reaction suggested she was not satisfied with that clocking. Still, it gives her a comfortable lead going into the second stage, with only heat three winner Jessica Vitoria de Oliveira Moreira, of Brazil, joining her with a sub 60-second clocking courtesy of a personal best 59.41.
On the men’s side, Japan's Haruto Deguchi was the surprise winner of the first heat. He powered over the final two barriers to set a personal best of 51.40 ahead of South Africa's African Youth champ Lindokuhle Gora, whose 51.70 sees him second overall ahead of the second stage.
In the men’s 800m, Tasew Yada, of Ethiopia, was the only man inside 1:50. Yada had the fastest time of the entrants, and showed a late turn of speed to win his heat in 1:49.38. Algerian Mohamed Ali Gouaned crossed second in that race with a personal best 1:50.08 to rank second after the first stage.
The close of today’s session concludes the first stages; starting tomorrow, every event in Buenos Aires will be a medal decider.
Thomas Byrne for the IAAF