While a number of nations are giving the event a miss, some of the world’s top under-18 athletes are ready to battle for global titles in Nairobi
Youth athletes will compete for world under-18 titles for the last time this month as the final ever edition of the IAAF World U18 Championships takes place in Nairobi, Kenya.
South Africa’s Retshiditswe Mlenga (100m and 200m) and Jamaica’s Tyreke Wilson (100m) are among those in sprints action along with 15-year-old Kevona Davis (100m and 200m), who clocked a Jamaican under-18 100m record of 11.24 last month.
Kenya’s Dominic Kipkemboi (3:44.00) and George Meitamei Manangoi (3:44.40), who is the younger brother of world silver medallist Elijah Manangoi, go in the 1500m, while Ethiopia’s world under-20 5000m champion Selemon Barega and Kenya’s world under-20 5000m silver medallist Emmaculate Chepkirui race in the 3000m events.
Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh leads the high jump rankings with her 1.89m, while China’s Chunge Niu is favourite in the pole vault.
Cuba’s Maikel Vidal goes into the long jump competition with a PB of 7.85m, while Germany’s Jonas Tesch and Timo Northoff look to be the ones to watch in the shot put.
Originally called the IAAF World Youth Championships and first staged in 1999, the event has seen Usain Bolt, Valerie Adams and Allyson Felix among its winners in the past.
But, in Rio last year, IAAF president Seb Coe announced that the biennial competition would be held for the last time in 2017.
“We decided it’s not the best pathway for those athletes at that stage of their career,” he said at the time, adding that driving regional competitions would be the new focus.
The run-up to the meeting, which takes place on July 12-16, has seen withdrawals from countries including Britain, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, mainly due to security concerns or clashes with other competitions.
In December, British Athletics said: “With events such as the newly-launched European Youth Championships in Tbilisi in 2016, opportunities at area-level competition for the youth age group are being further developed and British athletes will now focus their energies on qualifying for the Commonwealth Youth Games being staged in Nassau, Bahamas 19-23 July 2017 as part of their respective home country teams.”
Provisional entry lists for the event can be found here and IAAF event-by-event previews are here. The timetable here will be updated with results once available, while information on watching the action live is here.