YOG stars shine at London 2017
The 2017 IAAF World Championships witnessed some outstanding results in track and field from athletes who previously made their names at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). Here, we round up some of the star performances in London.
Battle of the YOG champions
It was a spectacular showdown between two YOG gold medallists in the women’s high jump, as Singapore 2010 champion Maria Lasitskene was challenged by teenager Yuliya Levchenko, who burst onto the scene when winning gold at Nanjing 2014. The 19-year-old Ukrainian thrilled fans at London’s Olympic Stadium by clearing two metres for the first time in her career, but had to settle for silver behind defending champion Lasitskene, who won her 25th consecutive competition with a flawless clearance of 2.03m. Next, she will target the world record.
More joy in the high jump
A day later in the men’s final, another high jump champion from Nanjing 2014, Danil Lysenko, stepped up to senior level in similar style to claim a silver medal behind Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim. The 20-year-old Lysenko – who like Lasitskene was competing in London as an Authorised Neutral Athlete – is just the latest male athlete to emerge from a field event at the YOG, following in the footsteps of Olympic pole vault champion Thiago Braz da Silva.
Naser beats established stars in dramatic race
The most eventful race of the Championships was the women’s 400m final, which was billed as a head-to-head between Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Allyson Felix, the gold and silver medallists from Rio 2016. But as the rain poured the race changed, and in the home straight Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser – who set a new national record of 50.08 seconds as the fastest qualifier for the final – stormed past Felix and the faltering Miller-Weibo to snatch silver behind the USA’s Phyllis Francis. Naser was also runner-up in the event at Nanjing 2014, and this exciting 19-year-old has the potential to turn silver into gold at Tokyo 2020.
Best of the rest
Naser wasn’t the only YOG medallist to shine on the track at London 2017, with fellow 400m runner Baboloki Thebe of Botswana agonisingly missing out on bronze when coming fourth from the outside lane in the men’s final. Meanwhile, Sidney Siame, the 100m champion from Nanjing 2014, did Zambia proud in the 200m, setting a new national record of 20.29 seconds in winning his heat before narrowly failing to progress from a strong semi-final.
With such sensational results already achieved by YOG graduates on the biggest stages of world athletics, expect more future stars of track and field to spring up when the YOG arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in little more than a year.