By Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis,

Men’s 110m hurdles

The junior men and women’s sprint hurdles finals at the World Junior Championships will be an intriguing affair. The men’s 110m hurdles is shaping up to be a humdinger with an outstanding cast set to face the starter. Wilhem Belocian of Guadeloupe who competes for France is one of the future stars of this event.

He comes to the championships with an enviable record, he holds the World Indoor 60m hurdles world junior record 7.48, and the 110m hurdles World Youth best 13.12 along with the European Junior 110m hurdles record of 13.18.

He also captured the 2014 CARIFTA title with a narrow win over Jamaica’s Tyler Mason in a championship record 13.23 seconds. He has made his intentions clear that the gold medal is his only target at this year’s World Junior Championships. Belocian is renowned for breaking records and the World Junior championship record of 13.18 seconds could be next on his agenda.

One of the athletes determine to upset Belocian’s plans is the combative Tyler Mason of Jamaica. He challenged the Frenchman all the way to the finish line in an exciting under-20 boys CARIFTA 110m hurdles final in April taking silver in 13.25 seconds. Mason has perfect hurdling technique and if he keeps his composure, could win a medal in the event.

Jamaica’s medal hopes would have been brighter in this event if 2013 World Youth Champion Jaheel Hyde had not been concentrating on the 400m hurdles where he has gained immediate success in his first year doing the event. Hyde is the Jamaican High School champion in the event where he edged Tyler Mason who has a knack for being in memorable close finishes.

Great Britain’s David Omoregie has captured our imagination with an impressive outing recently establishing a new British junior record of 13.17 seconds. The former decathlete has catapulted himself among the medal prospects in the event and looks a dangerous contender for gold. The American challenge will come from Nicholas Anderson and Theophile Viltz III. Fans should expect a very technical and fast final from all the competitors mentioned.

Women’s 100m hurdles

The women’s 100m hurdles have its share of quality performers. America’s Kendell Williams set tongues wagging at the U.S Junior championships after smashing the American junior record and setting a new mark of 12.87 seconds. She left in her wake World Youth Championship silver medallist Dior Hall who ran 13 seconds flat for second. If conditions are perfect, the once unthinkable championship record of 12.84 seconds held by Cuba’s Aliuska Lopez could be erased.

Yanique Thompson of Jamaica the reigning World Youth Champion is one of the Caribbean’s brightest prospects. She however will need to produce a lifetime best to upstage the Americans. Thompson has struggled with injuries throughout the season resulting in some ordinary returns by her standards. Fans are hoping that she has recovered sufficiently to regain her status as one of the best in the world.

Men’s 400m hurdles

The junior men’s 400m hurdles event is shaping up to be a stellar event at this championship. The U.S.A has put forward two strong medal contenders in Timothy Holmes and Kenneth Selmon who finished 1-2 at their US junior championships. The pair based on current form will be hoping to claim the top two spots on home soil. The Americans, however, will not have things their own way and will have to work extremely hard to achieve their target.  Cuba’s Jose Luis Gaspar with a personal best of 50.65 is one of the athletes to watch in this event.

Jamaica’s super talented Jaheel Hyde is a fearless competitor with a big heart. He is the World Youth Champion at 110m hurdles, CARIFTA Under-18 110m and 400m hurdles champion and double Jamaican high school champion in both hurdles events. However, Hyde’s focus is solely on the 400m hurdles event at these championships and he is a strong gold medal contender.

He has already blazed one of the fastest junior times in the world this year with an astonishing 49.49 seconds. Despite not matching that time in subsequent races because he runs for victories and not records, Hyde still has the ability to shift gears when the occasion requires. Hyde’s teammate Okeen Williams is also a warrior athlete who will be finishing fast like a sailboat. The fans could witness something special in Eugene.


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