By Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis, Special to TrackAlerts.com
The men’s junior 200m title seems like a wide-open affair with many contenders aiming to be the last man standing. For a long time Anguilla’s Zharnell Hughes held the fastest time by a junior (20.32) which he registered in the semi-finals at the 2014 Boys and Girls championships in March.
He is showing signs of returning to his best after an injury lay off and should be a top contender for the event. He recently won the men’s 200m in 20.33 at the Central American & Caribbean (CAC) Junior championship in Mexico.
Jamaican duo Jevaughn Minzie the high school champion with a personal best (PB) of 20.37 and Michael O’Hara the World Youth and CARIFTA champion with a 20.50 PB will be seeking podium positions in Eugene. As difficult, as it may seem Caribbean fans are not ruling out a clean sweep.
One sprinter who will be coming to the championships with a lot to prove is Trentavis Friday of the United States. Friday who was one of the favourites to challenge Trayvon Bromell for the 100m title at the US junior championships crashed out with a shocking false start.
He, however, returned as a man possessed to capture the 200m title in a wind-aided (2.9 m/s) 20.03 seconds. He had earlier won his semi-finals in a fast 20.39 seconds. If any athlete should get the favourites tag then Friday and Hughes seem the likely candidates. Kendal Williams of the U.S.A is another athlete win an outside shot at a medal. It is anybody’s race; however, a worthy champion will emerge.
Three of last year’s top half-lap juniors at the World Youth Championships renew their rivalry at the 2014 World Junior Championships. They are World Youth champion Irene Ekelund of Sweden, silver medallist Angela Tenorio of Ecuador and Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith the 2013 European Junior champion. The trio is confident of beating each other, which gives the event such a massive appeal to track fans.
The American double sprint junior champion Kaylin Whitney looks like a star on the rise. Her winning time (22.49) at the US championships is faster than that of most seniors currently competing in the IAAF World Challenge and Diamond League series. Her pending clash with Dina Asher-Smith, Irene Ekelund and Angela Tenorio is a spectator’s delight.