For all of Cuba’s rich tradition in the horizontal jumps, they have yet to win long jump gold at the IAAF World Youth Championships but in Maykel Demetrio Masso, they appear to have unearthed a talent who can change that statistic in Cali.
The day after his 16th birthday in May, Masso jumped 8.12m in Havana, and he will start in Cali as the clear favourite for gold.
Victory, though, will probably be hard-fought, given that his Cuban team-mate Juan Miguel Echevarria has also jumped beyond eight metres this year, his personal best of 8.05m coming in Havana back in May.
The athlete most likely to interrupt the Cubans’ dominance is Australia’s Darcy Roper, who jumped 7.91m albeit back in March.
In eight past editions of these championships, there has yet to be an eight-metre jump, but that’s a distinct possibility this year, especially with the helpful altitude of Cali.
Another intriguing entrant is Kenya’s Edward Kiplimo Lagat.
At senior level, javelin thrower Julius Yego has shown that Kenya’s athletics prowess is not just limited to the track. The 17-year-old Lagat, whose best of 7.71m makes him fourth on the list of those competing, could make history by becoming the first Kenyan to win a field event medal at the IAAF World Youth Championships.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF