We’re two days deep into the 2016 World U20 Championships. Here is what has had us oh my Bydgoszcz-ing all over the place. Whatever that means.
Main image: Nazim Babayev of Azerbaijan has his own little oh my Bydgoszcz moment in the triple jump prelims
Big boys do cry
Konrad Bukowiecki said before the competition that he dreamed of breaking Jacko Gill’s shot put world U20 record.
In qualifiers he showed he was in the mood, huffing the shot to 21.73m with his first throw. Only two U20 athletes can hold a candle to that (Gill and prolific age group champion David Storl).
In the final Bukowiecki launched it to a championship record 22.46m with his opener. With throw three he went even further: 23.34m to claim the WR of his dreams.
In round four he went further again – forty-three metres by our highly inaccurate and completely made up measurement – but stepped out of the circle for a foot foul.
In the olden days he would have had another two attempts; in 2016 four throws is all you get. The premature curtain brought with it a flood of raw emotion.
“I am crying with happiness after a competition for the first time,” the bashful two-time champion said.
No shame in that, Kaptain Konrad. It only served to make the moment more memorable.
Blue hot everything
While poking our noses into everyone’s business during warm ups on Monday (this was the outcome), a lot of the athletes told us how fast the blue track felt under foot. As we know, blue is the colour if you want super speedy times (remember this?).
So it has proven in each of the distance running finals so far.
Kenyan Rodgers Kwemoi ran a champs record 27:25.23 to take 10k gold on Tuesday, with NINETEEN personal bests behind him.
Ethiopia’s Beyenu Degefa also ran the fastest time in the history of the junior level champs, stopping the clock at 8:41.76 for gold in Wednesday’s 3k. There were ELEVEN PBs behind her. Nuts.
Yet the men’s shot put comp proved that the Zawisza’s throws circles can be just as conducive to personal best shattering performances.
Behind the Kaptain’s stunning U20 world record, Andrei Toader threw a Romanian U20 record 22.30m for silver, while PBs flittered through for the rest of the top seven.
In the women’s javelin throw qualifiers on Tuesday they threw from right to left. In Wednesday’s final they threw left to right.
This bilateral arrangement had us dizzy, but it didn’t affect Klaudia Maruszewska. The Pole added four metres to her personal best in the preliminary round.
In the final she added another three metres to that best mark, sailing out to 57.59m to wrap up the win with her very first throw. She becomes the first Polish female to win any world U20 title since the dawn of athletics time.
Back, back and forth and forth
Ever feel like you take one step forward only to take two back? Maykel Masso does all the time.
Not that it’s an issue. The Cuban’s long jump run up is preceded by a step forward, followed by a step back, followed by two forward followed by 15 back.
It’s like he’s winding up a trebuchet in preparation for an assault on Mordor.
It works. The Crocodillo went out to 8.00m dead to add the world U20 title to the youth gold we enjoyed watching him win in Cali last year.
Where do you start when describing a decathlon contest? Tradition dictates with event one, but let’s skip to event three.
Maksim Andraloits led after the shot put round, and there he stayed right through to the startline of the 1500m, the last event.
That doesn’t tell the full story, though. German On Camper Niklas Kaul had kept just about in touch throughout the contest, and the world youth javelin silver medallist knew that event nine would be his chance to rattle the Belarusian leader.
Kaul expelled doubts over the state of a rumoured elbow injury by launching the spear out to a really quite ridiculous 71.59m – a world decathlon U20 best – to close the gap.
His faster 1500m personal best made him odds on to leapfrop Andraloits and take the title, and he did just that.
In the space of two rounds he had turned a 370-point deficit into a 116-point winning margin.
The 18-year-old former dwarf becomes the first athlete ever to hold decathlon titles at youth (U18) and U20 (junior) level.
Andraloits deserves an honourable mention. He recorded nine personal bests in the ten events, playing his part it an emotional contest that had this correspondent clapping along like an excitable Viking volcano.