There Are Some Promising Athletes
Here is a closer look at some of the gifted athletes, participating in the championship who certainly can be categorized as future talents.
#1. Jackline Chepkoech – Kenya, Steeplechase
The 18-year-old almost lost out on a spot on Kenya’s Olympic team but subsequently focused on the World U20 Championships. She went on to win gold in 9:27.40, eight seconds faster than Ethiopian Olympian Zerfe Wondemagegn. Faith Cherotich, Chepkoech’s mate who won bronze in Nairobi, will also be young enough to compete in Cali.
#2. Erwan Konate – France, Long Jump
After finishing third in the European U20 Championships in Tallinn in mid-July, Konate put on the performance of his life to capture the long jump gold in Nairobi. The 18-year-old, who began the year with a personal best of 7.30m, won the title with jumps of 7.98m, 8.00m, and 8.12m in the competition’s last three rounds.
#3. Christine Mboma – Namibia, 200m
She was surely one of the revelations of 2021, winning Olympic silver in Tokyo and the global U20 title in Nairobi in a championship record time of 21.84 seconds – one of five sub-22-second performances she recorded in 2021. Mboma’s time of 21.81 seconds in Tokyo was recently certified as a global U20 record, and she will have the opportunity to break it in 2022, her final year as one of the U20 athletes.
#4. Udodi Onwuzurike – Nigeria, 200m
Onwuzurike, a Nigerian sprinter working in the United States, had the time of his life last year in Nairobi. He crushed his 200m personal best in the heats with a 20.47, won his semifinal with a wind-assisted 20.13, and then won gold in the final with a PB of 20.21. He also competed in the Nigerian 4x100m relay team, which failed to pass the baton, but he and his teammates can make apologies later this year in Cali.
#5. Heidi Salminen – Finland, 400m hurdles
Salminen, then 17, arrived in Nairobi following a disappointing performance at the European U20 Championships among other athletes in Tallinn when she finished last in her 400m hurdles quarterfinal with a timing of 60.30. Having never actually run faster than 59 seconds, she established a personal best of 58.12 to win her heat and then destroyed it three days later to take gold in 56.94.