Back in June, the IAAF announced a new project with Ashton Eaton in which the world and Olympic decathlon champion would select five athletes who impressed him at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 to join him in Eugene for an all-expenses-paid three-day training camp.
With the championships having concluded, Eaton has now made his selections.
The chosen athletes hail from five different IAAF areas and cover a range of event groups. The training camp will take place in March 2016, following which the athletes will stay on in Oregon and be invited guests at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, Portland 2016.
The progress of the five will then be followed on the road to the IAAF World Junior Championships, Kazan 2016 and then as seniors.
Some may even return to Oregon and go on to compete at the IAAF World Championships, Eugene 2021 when they will be in their early 20s.
Eaton’s selections, along with his reasons behind them, are as follows...
Maribel Vanessa Caicedo (ECU) 100m hurdles
"Another form-chart destroyer. She is a display of confidence. She has been putting in the work with her eye on the prize for a long time. She now has her sights on bigger things. It’s going to be exciting to watch her try to achieve them."
Candace Hill (USA) 100m
"Simply raw talent and youthful zeal. Senior athletes need to experience this more."
Niklas Kaul (GER) decathlon
"An overall impressive performance in all 11 events (Kaul took silver in the individual javelin as well as gold in the decathlon). What caught my attention was his response in performance after his hurdle setback. To retain focus and move on to achieve; that is senior decathlon mentality."
Salwa Eid Naser (BRN) 400m
"Even though she was getting overtaken by competitors on both sides, she stuck to her race to win it in the final 75 metres. Her training foresight is above average for her age. She is a display of overall maturity."
Werner Visser (RSA) discus
"It’s surprisingly difficult to perform when it counts in a technical event."
The athletes were delighted to have their achievements recognised by Eaton.
“This is really an honour,” said Visser, his sentiments echoed by the other four athletes.