The depth of Australian talent in the women's 400m continues to impress as Bendere Oboya and Ella Connolly took the top two spots respectively at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas.
Oboya clocked a new personal best time of 52.69 for gold, while Connolly, the U18 Australian Champion in 2017, placed just behind with a personal best of 52.72.
Oboya's rise to her newfound international success has been nothing less than astounding, with the Ethiopian-born teenager taking up the sport less than two years ago.
The 17-year-old from Pendle Hill High in Sydney’s west clocked a Commonwealth Games 'B' qualifier in her run, and is now Australia's fourth fastest U18 female over 400m ever, sitting behind the likes of Jana Pittman, Jess Thornton and Michelle Baumgartner.
“I’m still learning to run a 400m properly because I didn’t even know how race or find a coach 18 months ago when I was running like 1 min 15 sec,” Oboya told The Courier Mail.
“This just feels amazing to get a massive PB in an international race. I’m still processing it in my head.”
Oboya’s time was the second fastest produced by an under 18 athlete in the world, with only American Arria Minor running faster this year.
Elsewhere, gold continued to flow for Australia with 16-year old Sydneysider Alexander Kolesnikoff producing a mighty 19.76m in the shot put to snatch victory from New Zealand’s Nicholas Palmer.
Kolesnikoff saved his best for last, with his sixth throw just shy off his personal best, which sits at 20.01m for the 5kg shot put.
On Day 1 of the Games, young Queensland sprint star Riley Day narrowly missed out on the gold medal in the girls' 100m.
The 17-year-old Queenslander equalled her personal best of 11.59 seconds to claim the silver medal, finishing three hundredths of a second behind title winner Julien Alfred from St Lucia.
Day, one of the breakthrough stars of this year’s inaugural Nitro Athletics, continues to have a busy scheule in the Bahamas, running through the heats, semi-finals and final of the 100m all within a few hours, before taking to the track again on Day 2 to qualify fastest in the girl’s 200m in 24.36. Ella Connolly also won her heat in 24.91 seconds.
Fellow sprinter Mia Gross, had a tumultuous time before her heat of the 100m, when she collided painfully into a absent-minded jogger during her final warm-up practice start.
Fighting through clear pain and distress Gross only missed joining Day in the final by 0.02 seconds.
In the field, long jumper Ben Schmidtchen posted two new personal bests and looked the winner when he posted a jump of 7.64m, but was relegated to silver in the dying rounds by Antigua and Barbuda’s Sheldon Noble.
There was a nail-biting finish for Jake Doran in the final of the boy’s 100m, who just missed out on a medal, placing fifth in 10.65 and only 0.10 seconds behind the gold medal.
Four Australian’s – Keely Small, Carley Thomas, Jordan Doris and Jackson Sharp all qualified for the finals in the 800m events, to be run tomorrow evening, while Tiana Death and Lateisha Willis qualified for the finals of the 100m hurdles. Sebastian Moir won a berth in the 400m hurdles final, while Yandin Ngeng won through to the semi’s in the 200m.