American athletes claim 400m hurdles titles in Cali, while GB’s George Evans enjoys medal-winning discus display

Sydney McLaughlin shaved 0.02 from the 10-year-old 400m hurdles championship record on Saturday, the American 15-year-old clocking 55.94 to secure one of 12 titles available on the penultimate day of IAAF World Youth Championships action.

Joining her team-mate on the podium was Brandee Johnson who won bronze in a 57.47 PB behind Canada’s Xahria Santiago who clocked a 56.79 PB.

“I am completely happy,” said McLaughlin. “The track was so fast I had to check my rhythm all the time. I am looking at a great future and it is a big honour to be this successful for USA.”

Norman Grimes ensured the boys’ 400m hurdles title was claimed by the USA too and he provided the performance of the evening as he clocked a world youth-leading 49.11 to secure victory by more than a second. That time moves him to second on the boys’ all-time list for the event over the 84cm barriers.

“I knew I had to run sub-50 to get a medal so I had to go for it,” said Grimes, who led the next three athletes to personal best performances. Japan’s Ryusei Fujii (50.33) and Masaki Toyoda (50.53) claimed the minor medals.

Ethiopia’s Bedatu Hirpa pipped Bahrain’s Dalila Abdulkadir Gosa to the girls’ 1500m title, storming down the home straight to clock a world youth lead of 4:12.92 to Gosa’s 4:13.35 PB. Early leader Joyline Cherotich of Kenya got the bronze in a 4:15.20 PB as Britain’s Harriet Knowles-Jones finished just outside the medals with a lifetime best of 4:18.61 in fourth. Knowles-Jones’ team-mate Sabrina Sinha placed 11th in 4:29.85.

Willy Tarbei led a Kenyan 1-2 in the boys’ 800m as he front-ran his way to victory and clocked 1:45.58 – the second fastest ever winning time – ahead of Kipyegon Bett with 1:45.86. There was bronze for Brazil as Luis Fernando Pires was next over the line in a 1:48.61 PB.

Switzerland’s Geraldine Ruckstuhl secured the heptathlon title in style, moving from her sixth place position on day one into the gold medal-winning spot on day two. Her 6037 point tally is a championship record and got her the gold 45 points ahead of Austria’s pre-competition favourite Sarah Lagger. Cuba’s Adriana Rodriguez, who led overnight, eventually finished sixth with a PB as bronze was won by Ukraine’s Alina Shukh. GB’s Niamh Emerson finished 13th with a PB of 5384 points while her team-mate Michelle Hughes placed 21st with 5208.

“I don’t believe it,” commented Ruckstuhl, who had propelled herself from sixth to first with 52.87m in the javelin and then ran a nine-second PB in the 800m. “Coming into this championship, third place was the best I could imagine. First, I can’t believe.”

Britain’s George Evans only had one valid throw in the discus final but his 60.22m in the second round was enough to secure him a bronze medal behind South Africa’s Werner Visser (64.24m) and China’s Yuhan Wang (60.33m).

George Evans

“It’s not what I expected – I only got one throw out in the second round and I thought that would settle me down a bit but I got more nervous as people started increasing their distances,” said Evans. “I’ve come out in the end with a bronze medal so I am very happy.

“It’s a new experience for me,” he added. “I knew what I had to do – try to relax, forget about the last throw and focus on the next. I have thrown further before so I maybe thought there was a possibility of getting a medal because anything can happen on the day. One of the best competitors in the field (Sweden’s Wictor Petersson) fouled on his first three throws so you never know. It got to the final round and I went into the cage knowing I had guaranteed a medal which was an amazing feeling.”

Russia’s world youth hammer leader Sofiya Palkina wasn’t able to demonstrate the sort of form that saw her throw over 71 metres in February and June, but her 67.82m in the third round was enough for victory ahead of Turkey’s Deniz Yaylaci with a 67.01m PB.

Georgiana Iuliana Anitei was dominant in the girls’ triple jump – her winning mark was a world youth lead-equalling 13.49m but any of the Romanian’s valid leaps would have been enough to claim victory ahead of China’s Rui Zeng with a 13.04m PB and Cuba’s Yanna Anay Armenteros who managed the same mark and got bronze on countback. Behind Anitei it was close and there was just 10 centimetres between the medals and seventh place.

Sweden’s Elienor Werner won the pole vault title with a 21 centimetre victory, clearing a PB and world youth-leading height of 4.26m on her third attempt after first-time clearances up until that point. Italy’s Stefano Sottile soared over 2.20m on his first attempt to equal his own world youth lead and grab high jump gold. Ukraine’s Dmytro Nikitin equalled his PB of 2.18m for silver.

Despite recent reports that the Russian athletics federation would be withdrawing the nation’s race walkers from all international competitions until a doping investigation into coach Viktor Chegin is complete, their four athletes at the World Youths were all in action and two medals were claimed for the nation. Sergey Shirobokov won 10,000m race walk gold in 42:24.41, while his team-mate Olga Eliseeva clocked 22:45.09 to win 5000m walk silver behind China’s Youth Olympic Games champion Zhenxia Ma with 22:41.08. In the girls’ event, Ethiopia’s Ayalnesh Dejene claimed a first ever global walks medal for her nation, clocking a 22:48.25 PB for bronze.

Britain’s Cameron Tindle and Toby Harries were among those to qualify for Sunday’s 200m final, while their team-mate Emily Wright secured her spot in the long jump final.

» For full results see iaaf.org