Tag Archives: World Junior Championships

Track Beauty of the Week: Olga Rypakova Ольга Рыпакова

The Kazakh triple jumper is one of the best in her event. Rypakova has jumped 15.25m outdoors and 15.14m indoors, both Asian records. She also has a world-class personal best in the long jump at 6.85m. Olga is the 7th best triple jumper all-time.

Click here to read the full article…

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Michelle Jenneke: The Dancing Hurdler

My college coach suggested that I take up dancing classes a few years back, to improve hip mobility. I’m not really the dancing type, so I ignored his advice! I chose hurdle drills over dancing lessons! But then again, hip mobility is imperative for efficient hurdling clearance.

Michelle Jenneke obviously doesn’t share my dancing shyness. The Australian junior has become the latest internet sensation, thanks to a viral Youtube video of her doing a pre-race dancing jig before her qualifying heat.

Click here to read the full article…

Yordan O’Farrill: Cuban Young Gun

Even if I’m a loyal Liu Xiang 刘翔 supporter, I have nothing but respect for Dayron Robles and the Cuban hurdling program. Cuba only has a population of around 11 million. Its command economy has been weakened by decades by the American embargo, and yet, it has been able to produce a steady line of Olympic hurdling champions in Anier Garcia (Sydney 2000) and Robles (2008 Beijing).

While going over news articles of the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, I was impressed by the newly crowned 110m hurdles (0.99m) champion, Yordan O’Farrill, both by his hurdling and his propensity to wear glasses in a race! As a bespectacled hurdler myself, I have a unique sense of affinity with my myopic counterparts.

The Cuban clocked a relaxed 13.44s in qualifying. He upped the ante in the semifinals, notching 13.28s as he won his heat.

O’Farrill set a new championships record of 13.18s in the final, as he finished ahead of Australia’s Nicholas Hough (13.27s) and France’s Wilhem Belocian (13.29s).

The World Junior Champion is part of Robles’ training group under the great Cuban hurdling coach, Santiago Artunez. Hence, it is not surprising that O’Farrill is technically proficient over the barriers. His center of gravity stays level all throughout the race. The young Cuban’s arm action during hurdling clearance is supple and efficient. The way he snaps his trail leg is remarkably fast – and reminiscent of the Robles himself.

The 19-year old Cuban might just be the Robles’ heir apparent, as an IAAF article suggests.

With his performance in Barcelona, O’Farrill has been elevated to third place in the 110m hurdles (0.99m) list, behind Americans Wayne Davis (13.08s)  and Eddie Lovett (13.14s). Liu still holds the World Junior record over the senior hurdles (1.067m) at 13.12s.

Although I firmly believe that youth and junior athletes should make the transition to the senior barriers in a gradual manner, Liu’s record carries more weight. Junior records set over 1.067m hurdles are easily comparable to the senior times, without the handicap of lower barriers.

To date, O’Farrill has a lifetime best of 13.91s over the senior hurdles. With training buddies like Robles and a superb coach in Artunez, the young Cuban is on the right track.

Additional Links:

Barcelona 2012 110m hurdles (0.99m) results

All-Time List – 110m hurdles (0.99m)

Re-run in Barcelona!

At the third heat of the men’s 400m dash qualifying, the starting gun fired before Kenyan Alphas Leken Kishoyian had settled on his blocks. He finished dead last with a time of 48.39s, due to the starter’s lapse.

A re-run was ordered, even if the Kenyan team did not file a formal protest. Kishoyian, according to an IAAF article, must better the time for the least fastest finalist (Nikita Uglov, 46.49s) to barge into the medal round.

The Kenyan youngster blasted out of the blocks, running the first 200m at around 21 seconds. He was gamely cheered on by the Kenyan contingent and the rest of the spectators. Having a personal best of 45.64s, Kishoyian had the necessary firepower to accomplish the task at hand. He stopped the clock at 46.46s.

With this peculiar twist, the 400m final will feature nine athletes instead of the standard eight in the sprinting events.

In the many years I’ve closely followed major international track & field competitions, this is the only time I’ve seen a re-run in such a high level meet. When Perdita Felicien accidentally veered into Irina Shevchenko after clipping a hurdle at the Athens Olympics 100m hurdles final, the Russian officials roared for a re-run.

The request was denied.

Back in UAAP 65, however, one of my teammates had a similar experience. The officials (for reasons I’ve forgotten), allowed my teammate to run in his own final heat, after the original final had taken place.

But then again, the UAAP is just a collegiate event from the athletics-obscure Philippines.

Additional Link:

400m Dash Semifinals

Video Credit:

Mike Bascombe (who uploaded the Super Sport clips)

Vamos, Luguelin Santos!

The quarter miler from the Dominican Republic is just 18-years old. Despite his youth, Luguelin Santos has made waves in the 400m dash in 2012 – against much older competitors. At the Doha Diamond League last May 11, Santos finished behind LaShawn Merritt, the 2008 Olympic Champion. The 18-year old ran an impressive 44.88s against Merritt’s 44.19s, a world-leading time. Santos came close to his 2011 lifetime best of 44.71s, which he set at altitude in Guadalajara, Mexico.

But the best was yet to come for the Dominican. Two years after finishing in sixth place at the Moncton World Junior Championships, Santos streaked to 44.45s at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in Hengelo.

Santos had overtaken Kirani James (44.72s), the World Junior Champion from Moncton and the reigning World Champion, in the 2012 top list. Santos’ dominant Hengelo showing is the eighth fastest time ever run by a junior. The Dominican junior is in illustrious company in the juniors all-time list, as he trails only Kirani James and the 1988 Olympic Champion, Steve Lewis!

The Dominican Republic definitely has a new track star, the heir apparent to Felix Sanchez.

In a span of two years, the 18-year old dramatically bettered his lifetime bests –  from 46.19s in 2010 to 44.45s in 2012.In the run-up prior to the London Olympics, the 400m dash will feature talented youngsters, like Santos and James, pitted against experienced quarter-milers like Merritt. The 400m dash will be one for the books.

10-for-10: Isabelle Pedersen

Isabelle Pedersen is a fast-rising athletics talent from Norway. At such a young age, Pedersen has won several major age-group titles, the most notable of which are the World Youth and World Junior crowns in the 100m hurdles. In 2009, the Norwegian edged out two American athletes to win the U18 100m hurdles (0.765m) gold, stopping the clock in 13.23s. In Moncton the following year, and competing against older, U20 athletes this time, the compact sprint hurdler again won gold. Her time of 13.30s over the 0.838m barriers was a national junior record.

Click here to view Trans World Sport’s feature on Isabelle

In the women’s event where the barriers are lower, speedsters tend to get away with glaring technical flaws, relying more on their flat out speed than hurdling form.  At such as young age, the Pedersen has developed a fundamentally-sound hurdling technique, comparable to her older compatriot, Christina Vukicevic. To date, Pedersen’s personal best stands at 13.21s – a national junior record and six-hundredths of a second off the Daegu World Championships standard.

Her ebullient personality on the track and the sheer enjoyment she exudes in her races highlight Pedersen’s love for the event. She is every inch the happy hurdler – and happy hurdlers, epitomized by Liu Xiang himself (and most recently, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde) are formidable competitors.

As the World Youth and World Junior Champion matures physically and psychologically, the prospects of success in the senior ranks look bright.

Pedersen takes time to answer this blog’s 10-for-10 feature:

1. How did you get started with athletics?

When I was younger my mom thought I had ADHD, but it turned out I was just a girl with a lot of energy. Doing sports was therefore an easy choice. My first meeting with athletics was at the age of ten. I walked by some teenagers training and I was fascinated by the sport. I remember I asked my mom what kind of sport they were doing and she told me it was the same sport she did when she was younger. Since that day I knew athletics was the sport for me as well.

2. What’s the most memorable moment of your track career?

When I discovered that I have won the final [of the 2010] World junior championships. The last thing I remembered was the starting point, the rest [was] just black.

Click here to view the full results of the Moncton 2010 100m hurdles final

I had a dream to defend the gold medal from youth world championships the year before, but [I] never thought I’d make it. I was number 15 on the list before the championships started.

3. What’s your life-long dream?

I´m living it now, I’m living out my dream everyday. Track, hurdles [are] my passions. And the dream of everyone else, [to] become as good as possible.

4. Let’s lighten up a bit! What would you rather wear and why? Short shorts or tights?

Hehe, tights is the thing I guess.

5. If you could be a Glee cast member, who will you be? And what song will you sing?

Glee cast? Sorry, honestly I’ve no idea what that is…

6. How I Met Your Mother or F.R.I.E.N.D.S.?

Tricky… both are greats shows! Why choose when you can have both?

7. What’s the best pump-up song of all-time?

I have a new list every season, and there a no favorites, they are all part of the warm up.

8. If you could spend the rest of your days at any place in the world, which would you choose?

I haven´t raveled much to the big cities of Europe, but Paris has inspired me a lot. Would like to live in a city that inspires me as much as Paris to my last breath. Maybe I will movie back to my home town Bergen, I haven´t planned it yet!

9. Name three things you just can’t live without.

I think I will pass this one, I still have the world in front of me ;)

10. Who’s your athletics role model/idol?

I don’t have one. I’ve always just done it because it’s fun. Haha. But Susanna Kallur is a great hurdler.

Additional Links:

Isabelle’s Website

Isabelle’s Twitter account (help her reach 1,000 followers!)

Isabelle’s All-Athletics Profile.

Video Credit:

Trond Knaplund

Deja Vu: 2010 World Juniors 110m High Hurdles Final

My initial reaction after seeing Liu Xiang 刘翔 and Dayron Robles make contact at that controversial sprint hurdles final last night was one of sympathy for the two hurdlers. Stuff like these happen all the time in the hurdles.

A good example is the 110m high hurdles final of last year’s World Junior championships. The United States’ Caleb Cross was leading the race until the fast-finishing Pascale Martinot-Lagarde caught up at the ninth hurdle. Lagarde was running in lane eight, with Cross in lane seven, similar in circumstances to the Daegu sprint hurdles final.

Cross lost his rhythm for a split-second. As he dropped out of the lead, Lagarde, Jack Meredith and Vladimir Vukicevic overtook the erstwhile leader. Like Robles, Lagarde immediately apologized to Cross after the race. The Frenchman wasn’t happy with the unintentional contact, but then again, such occurrences are part of the high hurdles.

Cross and Lagarde both led with their right legs. But Cross, being a raw junior athlete, still displayed a wildly flailing trail arm (his right arm). Cross’ upward-jerking trail arm was bound to hit Lagarde’s lead arm (his left) – which swung at a wide “C” – at some point in the race.

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