Tessa Potezny (SA, 3000m SC) and Wasie Toolis (Qld, javelin) have set the tone for the Australian Spark at the 2012 IAAF world junior championships, advancing to finals in their respective events on day one in Barcelona (ESP).
Potezny, who is making her Australian debut at the IAAF world junior championships, headed out strongly in the girl’s 3000m steeplechase with a lead pack that came through 1000m in 3:20.68.
Daisy Jepkemei (KEN) then broke away to cross first in a world junior lead time of 9:56.33, with Potezny automatically advancing to the final on Thursday, July 12, thanks to fourth place in a three-second personal best time of 10:22.51.
Thrilled by her performance, the South Australian medical student Potezny was today quickly reminded how tough each steeple becomes as the race progresses.
Potezny said: “I forgot how tough each steeple becomes, I’m too tired to even open this bottle of water and have a drink.
“The sprint finish was tough, I knew from watching them across the race that the other girls cleared each barrier quite well and that I would have to fight to hold onto the lead I had from 5th coming into the straight.
"A personal best is just a bonus, the final was the aim and I’ve done it which is amazing.”
Meanwhile in the javelin, Toolis threw a new personal best of 51.38m on her third attempt to place 5th overall in her qualification round.
Opening her account with 50.23m, just ten centimetres shy of her previous best mark, the 2011 IAAF world youth championships representative Toolis hit 47.78m before her best result to close.
She is ranked tenth for the final tomorrow night, and will face stiff competition in Chinese athlete Shiying Liu who threw a world junior lead of 58.47m to automatically advance.
Toolis said: “I feel really good, I’ve been battling a bit of a back injury and to come out and hit the mark I did was great. There was a bit of Aussie support in the crowd so a big shout out to them because it was a definite boost.
“A pretty strict recovery will be needed to make sure I pull up well for tomorrow, and with a PB today I hope to do the same again.”
Toolis was joined in the girl’s javelin by 2011 IAAF world youth championships bronze medallist Monique Cilione (Vic). Cilione threw 48.30m and did not advance to the final. Similarly, Brodie Cross (Vic) did not advance to the boy’s pole vault final.
Advancing to semi-finals are Nick Hough (NSW, 110m hurdles), Hugh Donovan (Qld, 100m) and Ben Jaworski (NSW, 100m).
Hough featured in heat one of the sprint hurdles, and made light work of his rivals to cross first in a time of 13.52 (w: -2.2), his third fastest ever.
Arriving in Barcelona after clocking an Australian record 13.38 at the Bauhaus Junioren Gala in Mannheim (GER) a fortnight ago, the Youth Olympic champion was fourth ranked internationally prior to the commencement of competition.
Hough said: “It was really nerve-wracking coming out in lane one of the first heat but that’s the draw I got and I did the best I could with it.
It didn’t feel like the best race which is really promising for the semi-final tomorrow, there are plenty of guys running fast times and I will need to be at my best to get through the round of 16 and into the final.”
In the 100m, Donovan stormed up home to cross in a time of 10.57 (w: -1.6), with his second place ensuring he automatically advanced to the next round. Jaworski finished third (10.67, w: -0.4) in his heat, but moves through as one of the top-six non-automatic qualifiers.
Rounding out Spark contenders in the first session are Jake Stein (NSW) and Cedric Dubler (Qld) in the men’s decathlon.
Stein, currently ranked first on 2581 points, crossed in 11.31 (w: -0.8) in the 100m, launched a new personal best of 7.41m (w: +1.1) in the long jump and won the shot put with a best mark of 16.39m, more than two metres better than second in his pool.
Dubler, who is on an Oceania Athletics Association scholarship to continue his track and field development, sits 9th (2405 points) overall after three events. He clocked11.05 (w: -0.8) in the 100m, soared 7.47m (w: 0.5) in the long jump and hurled the shot put 12.35m to deliver three personal bests from three events.
To view and download full results from the IAAF world junior championships, please click here.
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