Konrad Bukowiecki in the shot put at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Bydgoszcz, Poland

Bukowiecki one step closer to retaining title after impressing on first morning in Bydgoszcz

Qualification was a formality for reigning shot put champion Konrad Bukowiecki on the first morning of the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 on Tuesday (19).

Bukowiecki is arguably the hottest favourite of the entire championships and the 19-year-old was already on his way back to the team hotel a little before 10am after sailing beyond the automatic qualifying mark of 19.40m with his first throw of 21.73m – a mark which is unsurpassed by any other U20 athlete this year.

If Bukowiecki is a lock for the title, Romania’s Andrei Toader is a solid bet for the silver medal as the 19-year-old, who recently finished sixth at the European Championships, also sealed the qualifying mark with his first throw of 21.26m.

Nobody else surpassed the 20-metre line across the two pools.

Bukowiecki said at yesterday’s press conference he was riled by finishing fourth at both the World Indoor Championships and European Championships and while he outlined that defending his title is his top priority, the Pole could challenge the world U20 record of 23.00m in the process.

World U18 champions impress on the track

Caroline Chepteek Chespol’s winning time in the second heat of the 3000m steeplechase wasn’t the fastest of the day but the world U18 champion looked mightily impressive as she broke clear from a pack including 9:41 performer Anna Emilie Moller from Denmark after the first kilometre.

Chespol crossed the finish-line in 9:55.21 to finish 10 seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Asimarech Naga (10:05.71) and Moller (10:06.26).

Her principal title challengers all qualified from the first heat which was won by Bahrain’s Tigist Getnet in 9:54.65 ahead of Kenya’s Betty Chepkemei (9:54.65) and Ethiopia’s Agrie Belachew (9:54.84) who both set sizeable lifetime bests in their first races at sea level.

World U18 champion Kumari Taki showed good finishing pace in the 1500m heats to qualify as a heat winner in 3:47.14 along with Morocco’s Ayoub Sniba (3:44.59) and Ethiopia’s Taresa Tolosa (3:46.13).

Other noteworthy qualifiers included European junior champion Joshua Kerr from Great Britain in the first heat in 3:44.86, European youth 3000m champion Elzan Bibic from Serbia in the second heat in 3:47.72 and 15-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen – the youngest of the Ingebrigtsen brothers – from the third heat in 3:46.53.

Samantha Watson was another of the world U18 champions from Cali in action this morning and the 16-year-old qualified comfortably for the 800m semifinals in 2:07.30. The heats were led by Ethiopia’s Tigist Ketema in 2:05.51.

Lyles and Tortu fastest in 100m heats

Noah Lyles just missed out on a place on the US Olympic Team in the 200m but the 19-year-old eased to the fastest time of the day in the 100m heats of 10.28 ahead of the highly rated Italian Filippo Tortu (10.29) and Brazil’s Paulo Andre de Oliveira (10.31).

USA’s Ja’Mari Ward was on the cusp of elimination after two rounds in long jump qualifying but he pulled out a lifetime best of 7.96m on his third jump to lead the qualifiers while Turkey’s Eda Tugsuz led the qualifiers for the women’s javelin final with 57.77m.

After three events in the decathlon, Maksim Andraloitis of Belarus leads with 2519 ahead of the Netherlands’ Riik Taam (2468) and Estonia’s Johannes Erm (2456). Although he is currently down in 15th place, Germany’s world U18 champion Niklas Kaul has all of his best events yet to come and will be in contention for gold during the latter stages of the competition.

Steven Mills for the IAAF