Mexico’s Roberto Vilches finished ninth at the last edition of the World U20 Championships but the 19-year-old leads the world U20 lists with a recent 2.26m clearance and is unbeaten in 2018.
Vilches leads the lists by a narrow margin from US duo Nathan Patterson and JuVaughn Blake who have cleared 2.24m and 2.22m in 2018, although the latter did have the beating of Patterson at the US U20 Championships last month.
Belarus has produced some excellent male high jumpers in recent seasons, namely Maksim Nedasekau, Pavel Seliverstau and national record-holder Dmitry Nabokau – all of whom are still 22 and younger – and they will be represented in Tampere by 19-year-old Aliaksandr Kisialiou, who has improved to 2.20m this year.
Kisialiou is tied on the world U20 lists with the diminutive Breyton Poole from South Africa. Standing at just 1.73m tall, Poole became the shortest male jumper to win a global high jump title at the World U18 Championships in Nairobi where he cleared 2.24m. He improved to 2.25m a few months later.
Ukraine’s Dmytro Nikitin has jumped even higher than Poole but the 19-year-old, who cleared 2.28m to win a silver medal behind Nedasekau at the European U20 Championships last season, has only cleared 2.16m this year. He was also beaten in his national championships by Vladyslav Lavskyy who cleared 2.19m.
There was a Ukrainian winner, though, at the last global event staged in Finland. Back at the 2005 World Championships, the little-known Yuriy Krymarenko cleared 2.32m on a cool and overcast afternoon in the Finnish capital to produce one of the most unlikely wins of the championships.
Steven Mills for the IAAF