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Jim Spier, NSSF - Live on-site
Thursday Report

from NationalScholastic.org

Morning Session - Afternoon Session

World Youth Champs Day 2 - Morning

Boys Hammer Qualifying (5kg - about 11 pounds)

Group A - Conor Mc Cullough (Chaminade, West Hills, CA) qualified automatically with the eventual group leader of 249-3 (Anyone throwing 70 meters - 229-8 - automatically advances to the final). Seven athletes attained auto qualifiers.

Group B - Renier Mejias of Cuba led this group with a throw of 240-5, so Mc Cullough goes into the finals as the overall leader.

Boys Long Jump Qualifying (auto qualifier 7.30m, or 23-11.5)

Christian Taylor (Sandy Creek, Tyrone, GA) made it into the final with a jump of 23-10.25, the 9th qualifier of 12. The leader is Tarik Batchelor of Jamaica (24-4.5).

Girls 400m Hurdles Round 1

Heat 1 The favorite was Shana-Gaye Tracey of Jamaica. She led through the eighth hurdle with not especially good form. She hit the ninth hurdle and Andreea Ionescu of Romania, gaining steadily on Tracey over the last two hurdles, took advantage of that to win "going away". Ionescu got a personal best in the process, running 57.88. Tracey qualified automatically in second at 59.38.

Heat 2 Dalilah Muhammad (Cardozo, Queens, NY) was relegated to lane 8 with the random draw. Not knowing how the competition was doing, she was in third our fourth through six hurdles. Seeing the competition now in the inside of her, she began to gain momentum. Just prior to the last hurdle, she had gotten herself into second behind Marli Spies of South Africa. Spies clobbered the last hurdle and went down, and Muhammad sprinted to a comfortable victory at 59.80. Second, well back but qualifying for the final, was Valeriya Znamenskaya of Russia at 61.12.

Heat 3 Ryann Krais (Methacton, Fairless Hills, PA), in lane 7, ran tentatively but never lost contact with the early leaders in the middle of the track. By hurdle eight she was in the lead and won handily, never hitting a hurdle the entire race. Her time was 58.67 and, finishing second with a PB of 59.80, was Mila Andric of Serbia.

World Youth Champs Day 2 - Afternoon

We met our good friend Patrick Joyce in the morning and traveled by tram to downtown Ostrava for lunch. (All those with credentials from the Championships are allowed to ride public transportation gratis. It's a great system).

It was a quite interesting jaunt, and we managed to find (of all things) a Chinese restaurant. The waiter spoke only Czech and Chinese, so we had to point to what we wanted (luckily they had an English language menu). I ordered Sweet and Acid Shrimp (better known as Sweet and Sour Shrimp in the U.S.) and it was comparable to what we get at home.

Girls 100m Semifinals

Semi 1 (0.8) - Erica Alexander ran a solid race to get into the final, running 11.84 for third. The clear winner was Rosangela Santos of Brazil (11.59) with Ashlee Nelson of Great Britain second (11.73). The final qualifier was Alyssa Conley of South Africa (11.91)

Semi 2 (0.9) - The favorite, Asha Phillip (Great Britain) had an easy win (for her), running 11.56. Ashton Purvis appeared to be in trouble in the early part of the race, but put on a sustained charge to finish second (11.81), the same time as third-placer Andreea Ograzeanu (Romania). Barbara Leoncio of Brazil (11.88) fills out the finals field. So, in the final, there will be 2 Americans, 2 Brits, 2 Brazilians, a Romanian and a South African.

Boys 100m Semifinals

Semi 1 (-0.2) - An easy run for Dexter Lee of Jamaica - he did not luck like he was anywhere near "all out" in his 10.46 win. Christophe Lemaitre of France made a late charge to capture second (10.68), nipping Kenneth Gilstrap (10.71). Keynan Parker of Canada (10.75) rounds out the four finalists from this heat.

Semi 2 (-1.8) - The Jamaicans are making their bid for a one-two sweep as Nickel Ashmeade won this heat fairly easily (10.58). Ian Warner of Canada was second, .2 back from Ashmeade. It was a real battle for the second two qualifying spots as four came across the line together for places 3 through 6, with only .01 separating those four. The local favorite, Vaclav Zich of the Czech Republic, managed third at 10.86, the same time as Tse-Ching Liang of Taipai. Isaiah Sweeney, with the worst reaction time by far in the race, was well back throughout the race and finished 8th, running 10.97. So there will be 2 Jamaicans and 2 Brits in tonight's final.

Girls 400m Semifinals

Semi 1 - Meshawn Graham was out extremely well (perhaps too well) over the first 150 meters. She started to fade as Olha Zemlyak of the Ukraine, to her right, began to pass her. The field started to come back to her by the halfway point as Graham finished fourth (54.96) and Zemlyak third (54.59). The winner was Alexandra Stukova of Slovakia won in 54.26 with Latoya Mc Dermott of Jamaica second (54.35).

Semi 2 - Yuliya Baraley of the Ukraine looks to be the one to beat here, winning in 54.86. Natalie Geiger of Canada finished second in a PB 55.00, as did Poovamma Raju Machettira of India in third (55.15). Francesca Xuereb of Malta (55.57) edged Brianna Frazier of the U.S. (55.66) for the final qualifying spot. So it's an interesting, diverse group of runners for the final, with runners from:

Ukraine (2)

Boys 400m Semifinals (top 2 in each heat and the next 2 fastest times advance)

Semi 1 - A couple of PBs here for the two automatic qualifiers, Kirani James of Grenada (47.29) and Jordan Mc Grath of Great Britain (47.48). James had set himself apart early and the field played "catch up". Mc Grath caught up, and the other six battled for times to get them into the finals. Only .4 separated third through eighth.

Semi 2 - Christopher Clarke of Great Britain, the world leader, was given a battle by Akihiro Urano of Japan over the first half of the race. But Clarke "poured it on" from then on, separating himself from the field and winning easily. Hendrik Maartens of South Africa went from fifth from second in the last 200 meters, running 48.01.

Semi 3 - Two of the other sub-47 guys did battle here. Danzell Fortson led the charge early, holding the lead over 300 meters when be began to labor and the razor-thin Vladimir Krasnov of Russia overtook him. It was Krasnov over Fortson, 47.22 to 47.70. Late charging Yonas Al-Hosah of Saudi Arabia got a time qualifier, finishing in third in 47.38.

Girls 100 Final (-0.9)

Oh my, what a race. Lots of drama as Alyssa Conley of South Africa jumped first with the false start called to the field. Next, Erica Alexander rocked in her blocks and was called for the false start. She left the start in tears. Asha Phillip (Great Britain), the big favorite here, took the lead halfway through but Rosangela Santos (Brazil) came back on her in a big way as both crossed the finish together. It was first announced that it was a dead heat, but 10 minutes later, it was announced that the tie had been broken. Phillip had taken a big gamble with a very fast, barely legal, reaction time of .104 seconds. It was a good thing that she did. So it was Phillips and Santos one-two, both at 11.46. The other British girl, Ashlee Nelson, took the bronze (11.58). Ashton Purvis, visibly nervous at the start, was never in the race and finished last in 12.04.

Boys 100 Final (-0.4)

As expected, it was a Jamaican sweep. Dexter Lee, last out of the blocks, but with a tremendous second half, beat his teammate Nickel Ashmeade, 10.51 to 10.54. Kenneth Gilstrap (10.65) held off a late surge by Christophe Lemaitre of France to get the bronze (10.67). Gilstrap said later, "I wasn't supposed to be here. I was a late replacement for Jeremy Rankin. But, once I found out that I was on the team, I worked like crazy". It paid off.

Here's a fact you will find hard to believe (but confirmed by the Jamaican federation). How many 100 meter male world titles (World Youth, World Junior, World Senior, Olympic Games) have Jamaicans won? Answer - one. Lee's victory was the first ever at any level.

Boys 800m Semifinals (top 2 in each each and next 2 fastest time advance to final)

Semi 1 - This was classic international competition. A battle down the home stretch after jockeying for position over the first 600 meters. It was Amine El Manaqui (Morocco) edging Ali Al-Deraan (Saudi Arabia), 1:50.70 to 1:50.74. Howard Shepard was in third after 400 meters, but faded down the home stretch, passed by by all but one in the field, and running 1:54.42.

Semi 2 - James Kaan (Australia) led through 500 meters and was passed on the inside by Geoffrey Kibet (Kenya). Kibet went on the win in 1:50.50 with Kaan holding of Garvyn Nero of Trinidad for second in 1:51.22.

Semi 3 - Dylan Ferris got a dose of international tactics and responded well. He tried to lead from the gun but got beaten at the break by Trent Sayers of Canada. He maintained contact throughout the race after Henok Tesfaye (Ethiopia) had taken a big lead. Tesfaye had a fast first lap at 52.44. Ferris came around the final turn into second as both he and Aleksandr Sheplyakov (Russia) passed Tesfaye. Sheplyakov began to pull away and Cihat Ulus (Turkey) passed Ferris. But Ferris hung on for third in what turned out to be the fastest of the three races and Ferris actually running the third fastest time of all the qualifiers (1:50.38). Sheplyakov won in 1:49.48 with Ulus second in 1:50.28. The second time qualifier (Tesfaye, 1:51.26) came out of this race as well.

Boys 110m Hurdles Final (36") (0.2 mps)

Wayne Davis ran a picture-perfect race. In fact, it was the best one ever run as he set a World Youth record of 13.16. He is a tremendous technician, even at his young age. William Wynne, as expected, got second, running 13.44. It was Denis Semenov of Kazakhstan getting the bronze (13.82), edging Andreas Martinesen of Denmark, who was nonetheless ecstatic over his PB 13.86.

World Youth Index