Photo: Athletics Australia
It was another golden day for Australia at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland. Townsville javelin thrower Nash Lowis showed his qualifying performance was no fluke, throwing even further in the final to take the gold.
This is Australia’s fourth medal of the championships, following the 1-2 in the decathlon from Ash Moloney and Gary Hassbroek, and silver in the women’s 800m to Carley Thomas.
The women’s 4x100m relay team also broke the national record, adding to the huge number of top-8 performances and personal best performances from this team.
Lowis is World U20 javelin champion
Nash Lowis is no one-throw wonder. He backed up his huge personal best in qualifying to throw even further in the javelin final and win the World U20s title in Finland with a huge 75.31m.
“I’m over the moon. I was not expecting that whatsoever.”
“I usually do pretty well in competitions. I don't get too phased by the atmosphere of it all. I perform better in competition than training." said Lowis.
The 18-year-old was only second at the Australian Trials in March, behind Cameron McEntyre, but turned a lot of heads in this javelin loving nation when he threw 74.38 metres to top qualifying, a best by over three metres.
He started the final slowly with 67.75m and 69.77m before really winding up. He threw 73.47m on his third attempt to take the lead. His fourth attempt was another huge 72.66m but it was his fifth attempt of 75.31m that sealed the title.
Coach Leslye Muller will be thrilled with the winning distance and consistency of the series. The performance of this young athlete on the other side of the world is even more amazing considering six weeks ago he was doubtful to compete due to injury.
“Every coach is different but most of the stuff my coach teaches me is very different to how other javelin coaches train so it’s very interesting and something I really like.” said Lowis.
American Tzuriel Pedigo won silver with a personal best 73.76m on his final throw and Maurice Voigt (GER) took bronze with a 73.44 personal best.
The only other medal for Australia in this event was Steven Madeo (VIC) with bronze in 1996.
Aussie women break national record in 4x100m final
The Australian women’s 4x100m relay team of Nana Owusu-Afriyie (VIC), Kristie Edwards (NSW), Samantha Johnson (QLD) and Mia Gross (VIC) have broken the national U20 record in finishing seventh at the World U20s in Tampere, Finland.
The time of 44.78 seconds beat the previous record of 44.86 set at the championships in 2004, by the Queensland quartet of Jacinta Boyd, Sally Pearson, Michelle Cutmore and Rebecca Negus when they placed fifth.
“I am just so proud of us. We got the baton around and that’s what we wanted to do. The icing on the cake was the Australian record.” said Owusu-Afriyie summing up the team’s performance.
Edwards said “I loved the experience and it’s ten times better to do it with these girls”
For Johnson “it was a new level of excitement. A rush of adrenalin”
And Gross, who anchored the team, said “To be out here with these girls was amazing.”
Australia ran 45.26 in the heat and snuck into the final off the back of United States, Jamaica and China having performances in their heats to forget. The Australian girls were determined to make the most of the additional opportunity to run against the world’s best, and they certainly did that.
All of the girls ran brilliantly and the second change between Edwards and Johnson was slick. But there could be further improvement in this team with the first change between Owusu-Afriyie and Edwards not as fast as the heat and the change between Edwards and Gross, perhaps cautious.
The one change from the team that qualified for the final was the addition of Gross for the final leg, replacing long jumper Grace Brennan. Riley Day was unable to run the heat of final due to a hamstring injury.
The final was won by Germany in 43.82, from Ireland with a national record 43.90 and Great Britain taking the bronze (44.05).
Willis and Johnson run-out in hurdles semi-finals
Lateisha Willis (VIC) and Samantha Johnson (QLD) did well to qualify for the 100m hurdles semi-finals at Tampere 2018 and the extra experience of racing the semi-finals will help in their careers.
In fast conditions, Willis got a good start in semi-final one from the outside lane but after the first few hurdles the top athletes in the field started to pull away. The Victorian finished 8th in 13.93 seconds – 0.01 slower than her heat time and finished the championships ranked 23rd.
Willis did a great job to make the championships after injuries over the Australian summer. She was pleased with how she handled this performance on the world stage.
“It feels pretty good knowing I am running consistent and my training is paying off.
The Victorian will take a host of experience home saying “I’ve learnt how to handle the competition against everyone around the world. I've learned to handle the nerves. I try to control my breathing in the blocks which helps.” said Willis.
Johnson also got out well in semi-final two. The Queenslander managed to run quicker than her heat time (13.97) to place 7th in 13.85 and not far off her personal best.
Johnson finishes the championships ranked 20th for the hurdles and will run the third leg for Australia in the 4x100m relay final at the end of the session.
American Tia Jones (13.06) and Jamaican Britany Anderson (13.10) look to be the favourites ahead of the final on Sunday.
In the other finals on Saturday night in Finland
Brianna Williams (JAM) dominated the 200m final to win in 22.50 seconds, breaking the championship record, and adding to her 100m win.
Camryn Rogers won the hammer throw with 64.90 metres on her first attempt. It is Canada’s first medal of Tampere 2018.
Cuban Jordan Diaz jumped a championship record of 17.15 metres to win the triple jump
Kenya went 1-2 in the men’s 5000m final with the gold to Edward Pingua in 13:20.16.
South African Sokwakhan Zazini won the U20 400m hurdles title in 49.42s, to follow on from his U18 win last year.
Phenom Armand Duplantis, who we’re more used to seeing jump against senior athletes, won the pole vault for Sweden with a jump of 5.82m and another championship record
The United States of America, the powerhouse athletics nation, had to wait until the men’s 4x100m relay final for their first gold of the championships. They held off Jamaica to win in 38.88 seconds.
There will nine finals decided in the final session of the championships on Sunday 15 July, with Australia represented in the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay finals.
Next Aussies in Action - Day 6 Final Session - Sun 8:30pm - 10:30pm AEST
You can watch all the action on the IAAF Livestream.
What a fantastic championships it's been for Australia already and the final day of #Tampere2018 should be a thriller. Two quartets of Australians take to the track in the last two events of the championships. Be sure to watch live.
Andrew Reid for Athletics Australia
Superlatives and Statistics David Tarbotton
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Championships start Tuesday 10 July 4pm AEST and continue through to Sunday 15 July 11pm AEST.
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