Jamaican sprinter Briana Williams at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 (© Getty Images)
After winning the 100m title last night, Briana Williams’ campaign for the sprint double began with an easy passage through the heats of the 200m on the fourth morning session of the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018.
Williams has a lifetime best of 23.11 from the Carifta Games set in Nassau earlier this season but a sub-23 clocking might be on the cards in the semifinal or final based on how comfortable the Jamaican made 23.32 look in the fourth heat.
The fastest entrant for the 200m is Lauren Rain Williams and the US sprinter was the fastest across the five heats with a 22.98 clocking – the only sub-23 performance from the first round.
Polina Miller concluded the heats with a 23.17 performance – just 0.02 outside her lifetime best – with Poland's Martyna Kotwila close behind in 23.21.
Three athletes have completed the 100m/200m double in the 32-year history of the World U20 Championships including Williams’ compatriot Veronica Campbell-Brown in Santiago, Chile in 2000, two years before Williams was born.
Jones fastest in the 100m hurdles heats
Jamaican and US athletes produced the four fastest times across the six heats of the 100m hurdles. The final heat produced the quickest time of the morning with Tia Jones setting the standard with a 13.25 clocking. Her momentum wasn't interrupted by the fact she clattered through two hurdles, nor was she unduly handicapped by a -1.1m/s headwind.
Next fastest across the heats were the Jamaican duo of Brittany Anderson and Amoi Brown – both heat winners – with 13.37 and 13.49 respectively. Fastest entrant Cortney Jones from the United States was another heat winner with 13.53.
The fifth was the most competitive with Turkey's Sevval Ayaz and France's Cyrena Samba-Mayela both clocking 13.56. Samba-Mayela is the fastest non-US entrant at the championships with a recently-set lifetime best of 13.00 which bettered Monique Ewanje-Epee's long-standing French U20 record of 13.07.
By contrast there were two mild upsets in the 800m heats. The first one was the elimination of India's Beant Singh, the fastest non-African entrant with a 1:46.92 PB, who was fifth in the first heat in 1:49.66. In the second heat, Ethiopia's Tadese Lemi – a 1:46.00 performer and a semifinalist two years ago – was disqualified for a lane infringement.
Kenya has won gold and silver at the past two championships and their entrants both qualified as heat winners. African U20 champion Solomon Lekuta won the third heat in 1:48.19 before Ngeno Kipngetich followed suit in the following heat with 1:49.03.
The heats of the women's 1500m began sedately before an almighty burn-up on the last lap. Ethiopia's Alemaz Samuel – better known as Alemaz Teshale – produced a 59.88 last lap to win the first heat in 4:18.88 from Kenya's Miriam Cherop in 4:19.05. This order was repeated in the second heat with Ethiopian U20 champion Dinke Firdisa beating Kenyan U20 champion Edinah Jebitok for the heat win, 4:16.85 to 4:17.07.
Fourteen hours after earning a bronze medal in the 800m final, Switzerland's Delia Sclabas qualified for her second final of the championships. She was fourth in the second heat in 4:18.01.
Gap closes between Emerson and Lagger in heptathlon
With only one event remaining in the heptathlon, just two points separate leader Niamh Emerson of Great Britain and defending champion Sarah Lagger of Austria.
The second morning of competition went to form with Emerson bettering Lagger in the long jump with 6.31m to Lagger’s 6.15m, although the Brit had a no-jump in the first round which appeared in excess of her recently set lifetime best of 6.41m. Lagger clawed back most of the 131-point deficit with 45.71m in the javelin before moving another point closer to Emerson with her second attempt of 45.76m.
Emerson leads the standings with 5285 points and she is faster over 800m, although not by much. The Brit has a lifetime best of 2:10.63 to Lagger's 2:11.70 which is crucially faster than Emerson's season's best of 2:12.18 set at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in April.
Fourth after the long jump, Australia's Celeste Mucci moved into bronze medal position ahead of Cuba's Adriana Rodriguez with a lifetime best of 44.28m in the javelin to improve her total to 5163 points to Rodriguez's 5147 points.
Lowis leads javelin qualifying with lifetime best
India won the javelin title two years ago in Bydgoszcz with Neeraj Chopra breaking the world U20 record in the process. There will be Indian representation in the final with Sahil Silwal surpassing the automatic qualifying mark of 72.00m with his first-round throw of 73.22m.
There will also be home representation in the final after Teemu Narvi, who is third on the 2018 world U20 list, hit the qualifying mark with his second attempt of 73.52m. World U20 leader Anro Van Eeden of South Africa made it through automatically with 72.22m but second-ranked Ismet Pekbak missed out with 67.18m.
The two pools were led by Australia's Nash Lowis who extended his lifetime best by more than three metres from 71.24m to 74.38m with his opening throw.
Eleven athletes cleared the automatic qualifying height of 1.84m in the high jump including Belarus' Karyna Taranda and Colombia's Maria Fernando Murillo. They have both cleared 1.90m this year although the latter did need three attempts at 1.77m. Third on the 2018 world U20 list with 1.88m, China's Lu Jiawen was a notable non-qualifier.
Steven Mills for the IAAF