Sunday 21 April, 2019

Stephens finishes 7th in 100m final at World U20 Championships

Jamaica's sprinter Michael Stephens in Tampere, Finland.

Jamaica's sprinter Michael Stephens in Tampere, Finland.

Jamaica's sprinter Michael Stephens finished a disappointing seventh in the men's 100-metre final on day two of the  IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland on Wednesday.

On a mild, breezy evening in Tampere, the Calabar High student crossed the line in 10.31 seconds, a time which only beat one athlete - Daisuke Miyamoto of Japan, who trailed home in 10.43.

Eighteen-year-old Lalu Muhammad Zohri unleashed a searing finish to his race to snatch gold in 10.18 (1.2m/s) ahead of USA duo Anthony Schwartz and Eric Harrison, who were both credited with 10.22, which Stephens posted earlier in his semi-final heat, a personal best for the Jamaican. 

South Africa’s Thembo Monareng finished fourth in the final in 10.23, with Britain’s Dominic Ashwell powering to a PB on the inside in 10.25.

Sweden’s Henrik Larsson, who had set a national U20 record of 10.22 to win his semi-final ahead of Stephens, could finish only sixth in 10.28.

Zohri came into the event as a respected, but far from feared, entity.

He had become Asian U20 champion earlier this year and lowered his best to 10.25 on home soil in Jakarta. But after the semi-finals, few would confidently have predicted his win, Zohri finishing second to USA’s Anthony Schwartz in 10.24, 0.05 behind.

Early in the final, it appeared as if the race would boil down to a two-way tussle between the US sprinters, but maintaining his form brilliantly out in lane eight was Zohri.

The Indonesian hit the front at halfway and was drawing away at the line, which he crossed in 10.18 to seal a historic victory for his nation ahead of Schwartz and Harrison.

Earlier, Wayne Pinnock secured Jamaica's first medal with bronze in the men's long jump.

The bronze represents Jamaica's first-ever long jump medal at the Under-20 level.

The Kingston College student finished third with an effort of 7.90 metres to pick up the bronze medal. Pinnock's bronze medal effort came with his first attempt. He followed up the 7.90m effort with 7.74m, 7.83m, 7.70m, 7.82m and 7.72m.

Japan’s Yuki Hashioka upstaged Cuba's 18-year-old Maykel Vidal for the gold medal.  Hashioka won with a throw of  8.03 metres, while Vidal, the world U20 leader courtesy of his 8.12m jump in Havana last month, had to settle for the silver medal with a throw of 7.99m

Jamaica's Shakwon Coke finished seventh with a personal best throw of 7.73m.

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