With just three events remaining, Ludovic Besson held his lead in the decathlon during the morning action on day two at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 on Thursday (16).
The Frenchman clocked a solid 13.86 in the 110m hurdles, the second fastest of the morning, to pad his overnight lead. But Estonia’s Hans-Christian Hausenberg struck back with a 47.22m effort in the discus to narrow Besson’s advantage to just nine points, 5845 to 5836, after seven events.
USA’s George Patrick is third with 5752, while Germany's pre-event favourite Niklas Kaul is fifth overall with some strong events yet to come.
Meanwhile, USA’s Candace Hill, who arrived in Cali on the heels of a 10.98 world youth best, got her 100m competition off to a good start, winning her heat unpressed in 11.47.
Hill may still have a fight on her hands for the gold though, and she wasn’t the fastest in the heats.
Khalifa St Fort of Trinidad and Tobago and Great Britain’s Hannah Brier won their respective heats in 11.39, personal bests for both.
The semi-finals are at 18:10 local time and the final at 20:05 later on Thursday
The semi-finals of the girls' 400m hurdles were largely like Wednesday’s opening round. At least for US world youth leader Sydney McLaughlin, who clocked 56.79 — just 0.02 faster than her performance yesterday — to lead the round by nearly two seconds.
Behind her, USA’s Brandee Johnson (58.51 in her semi-final), Ilaria Verderio (58.56) of Italy and Denmark’s Anne Sofie Kirkegaard (58.56) look like strong medal contenders as well.
There was also some decent speed on display in the opening round of the boys’ 110m hurdles.
USA’s Isaiah Lucas was the fastest on the morning, clocking 13.44 in heat five, to equal the world youth lead.
Other heat winners included South Africa’s Mpho Tdladi (13.53) and Sales Junior Inglin (13.59) of Switzerland who both dipped under 13.60, and USA’s Norman Grimes (13.62, PB), who was also the second fastest in yesterday’s opening round the 400m hurdles.
Kenyans in control in the boys' 3000m
Judging from the two heats of boys’ 3000m, Kenya has come to Cali well prepared to retake the title in this event.
Both heat winners, Richard Yator Kimunyan in the faster second race (8:04.75) and Davis Kiplangat (8:19.27), winner of the first, weren’t particularly winded by their respective efforts.
Ethiopian hopes of retaining the title won two years ago by Yomif Kojelcha lie with Tefera Mosisa (8:07.53) and Abayneh Degu (8:20.08) who both finished well-beaten runners-up to the Kenyan pair here. The final is on Sunday.
There was plenty of girls’ middle-distance action on the programme on Thursday morning as well.
In the 800m, USA’s 15-year-old Samantha Watson was the fastest of the morning, winning her heat by a full three seconds in 2:06.05.
Ethiopians Gadese Ejara and Foyiza Niguse advanced easily as well, winning their respective heats in 2:06.26 and 2:06.91.
Italy’s Marta Zenoni, the fastest of the entrants coming into Cali, was also an easy heat winner in 2:09.67 to cruise into tomorrow’s semi-finals.
In the girls' 1500m, Bahrain’s Dalila Abdulkadir Gosa led all qualifiers with a 4:18.61 season’s best. Ethiopia’s Bade Hirpa (4:19.34) and Kenyan Joyline Cherotich (4:19.96) dipped under 4:20 for the first time in their careers to advance easily as well.
In the girls’ shot put, Germany’s Julia Ritter led all qualifiers with a 17.61m heave to underscore her favourite’s role in tonight’s final.
Her closest competitor could be US putter Nicolette Dunbar who also went beyond the 17-metre line with 17.36m
Other qualifiers included Kristina Rakocevic (16.52m) of Montenegro, who won the silver medal in Wednesday night’s discus competition, and the USA’s Sophia Rivera (16.51m), who is also qualified for tonight’s final in the javelin.
Her double duty will be particularly notable as the events will be contested simultaneously. Fortunately for Rivera, the javelin runway and shot put circle are located almost side by side.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF