TAMPERE, Finland – Seven Jamaicans will be in action on Tuesday’s (10 July) opening day of the IAAF World U-20 Championships here at the Tampere Stadium.
Chrisaani May will be the first on track at 3:08 am (Jamaica time).
May, who has a personal best of 2:07.49, will line-up in a tough heat 2 of the women’s 800m, which will have six athletes with faster PBs.
The quickest in this field is Ethiopian Fireweyni Hailu with 2:01.35.
The other Jamaica in the event is Shaquena Foote, whose personal best is 2:05.79, enters heat 5 as the sixth fastest.
Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia is the fastest in the field with 2:00.89.
The first four in each heat along with the next four fastest times will qualify for the next round.
In the men’s long jump, Wayne Pinnock, who recorded a personal best of 7.96m this season, will be the third best jumper entering the contest.
Pinnock’s Jamaican teammate Shakwon Coke with 7.68m, also done this season, should also advance to the final.
Michael Bentley, 10.30 and Michael Stephens, 10.32, will close out the morning session in the men’s 100m heats, which is set to start at 3:50 am.
Stacey-Ann Williams will be the lone Jamaican competitor down for the afternoon session. She will run in heat 4 of the women’s 400m at 9:14 am.
Meanwhile, Christopher Taylor, one of the highlighted athletes entering these championships, has been named the captain of the Jamaican team, and he intends to set the tone for his fellow teenagers.
Taylor, who is the top gold medal contender in the men’s 400m and one of the six returners from the last championships, admits that he’s ready to lead his team Jamaica.
“It’s an honour knowing that I’m a leader and I have the opportunity to lead a team at the World U20 championships,” he said. “I’m very proud.”
He added to the Jamaica Observer: “I have a responsibility to carry out, to lead the boys’ team, leading from the front as usual.
“I have to keep the boys motivated and help them to perform at their very best.”
In other news, IAAF President Sebastian Coe, who is in Tampere for the event, spoke at the press conference on Monday afternoon.
“Our sport is in a very interesting phase at the moment, we’re engaged in innovation on and off the track. It’s not just about exciting our young people on the track, it’s about reaching out to them and understanding that our sport has a role in so many different areas – in health, cohesion, sustainability.”
“On that front, Tampere 2018 is leading the way for energy-efficient championships.
“Here in Tampere, we’re doing some very different things in terms of saving energy, athletes going to the stadium on bikes or foot, using tap water instead of bottled water.
“We have to see ourselves as a very different organisation, reflecting for young people the world they live in.”