Photo: Athletics Australia
It was an outstanding performance by Declan Tingay in the 10,000m walk to eclipse an Australian U20 record held by one of our best Olympians that was the highlight of the morning session of Day 5 in Tampere, Finland. Tingay was just outside the medals in fourth as the race walkers held centre stage with Katie Hayward and Kyle Swan also recording exceptional performances with big personal bests in fifth and sixth respectively.
Meanwhile our 4 x 400m relay teams have both qualified for Sunday’s medal decider, the sixth and final day of the World Under 20 Championships.
Tingay breaks Bird-Smith record in fourth and Swan sixth in 10,000m walk final
Declan Tingay (WA) finished an outstanding fourth in the gruelling 10,000m walk and broke Olympic medallist Dane Bird-Smith’s Australian U20 record with a time of 40:49.72.
The 19 year-old was thrilled with his performance.
“The perfect race, the race was perfect I couldn’t ask for me,” he said.
“I’ve been focussing a lot on my technique for the past five weeks and I think it all came together today.”
His teammate, Kyle Swan (VIC) was also in exceptional form to finish sixth in a new personal best, 41:24.12.
“This is the first time I’ve been a contender on the world stage. Today I was in the front pack and at one stage I was even leading, so it was great fun out there. Super tough but really really good.” said Swan.
Coached by his father Steven, Tingay was close to Bird-Smith’s record when he won the Trials in a 61 second best. The West-Australian got a taste for international competition when he raced at the IAAF World Race Walking Teams Championships in China, in what was a prelude to his form in Tampere. Despite a time penalty during that race, he still recorded a 10km road walk personal best of 42:01 to place 14th.
The title in Tampere was won by China’s Yao Zhang in a photo finish from David Hurtado ECU. Hurtado flew home in the final 50 metres to remarkably both be awarded the time of 40:32.06. There were questions from the TV commentators on the IAAF YouTube Livestream if the judges might disqualify Hurtado for his late spurt.
Jose Ortiz of Guatemala who was with Zhang and Hurtado for much of the race finished third in 40:45.26, just four seconds ahead of Tingay.
Tingay and Swan were in the lead pack of nine for the first half of the race before Swan was dropped after six kilometres. At seven kilometres Tingay was five seconds behind the eventual medallists and in fifth.
The pace continued to increase at the front and over the final kilometre it was Zhang and Hurtado battling for the gold. The lead changed several times and with 150 metres to go it looked like a clear win for Zhang before Hurtado fought back again at the line.
Swan is coached by Brent Vallance, who is the team coach in Finland and the man behind Jared Tallent’s Olympics medals in Beijing and London. Swan paid tribute to Vallance who has three athletes in the top-8 today.
Former world record holder Nathan Deakes (VIC) is the only Australian to win a medal at the World U20s when he was third in 1996. Bird-Smith was fifth in 2010 and Olympian Nick Ahern was seventh in 1988. Both Tingay’s and Swan’s performance place the teenagers amongst the all-time elite of race walking in Australia.
Hayward fifth with a huge PB in 10,000m Walk
Katie Hayward (QLD) raced superbly in the 10,000m walk final at the World U20 Championships in Finland to place a brilliant fifth in a fast 45:10.42.
“I’m really happy. It was a massive PB as well. It was a 38 second PB,” Hayward said.
Only former World Championships representative Jess Rothwell (VIC) has recorded a better placing and time at these championships when 4th at the 2008 edition with 44:44.22.
To stay focussed during the event, Hayward said she “broke the race down into each K’s. Once K and then the next K. Aim for the next and then for another one after that.”
“I focussed on the people in front so I could get faster and then go by them and try and hold on.”
On her coach Steve Langley’s reaction, the teen said “He’s ecstatic. He’s happy. He has a big massive smile on his face”
At the World Race Walking Team Championships in Tainan, China earlier this year Hayward was “disqualified 200m from the line so it’s a nicer feeling here crossing the line.”
The tall 17-year-old was prominent in the lead group for the first half of the race and keeping an eye on any solo surges at the front.
At around 6.5km Meryem Bekmez of Turkey made a big move and the lead group was instantly split. Hayward tried to respond but found herself fourth and 30 metres back.
Mexican Alegna Gonzalez and Glenda Morejon from Ecuador joined Bekmez and the three extended their lead. With two kilometres to race the medals were sown up, barring any disqualifications.
The lead changed several times between these three but it was Gonzalez who had too much speed over the last lap to win in an U20 world lead time, 44:13.88. Bekmez was just behind for silver in a Turkish record (44:17.69) and Morejon in third (44:19.40) set an area record. Nanako Fuji (JPN), who passed Hayward with around 2 kilometres to race finished fourth in a personal best, 45:08.68.
Push in the back, photo-finish and Australia through to men’s 4x400m final
There was plenty of drama in the final leg of the men’s 4x400m relay heat involving Australia with decathlon champion Ashley Moloney (QLD) lunging at the line to secure second place and the automatic qualifier in a photo finish, 3:08.53.
Adam Kopp (WA) made his World U20s debut and led off well from the inside lane to have Australia in second behind Italy when he handed the baton to Christian Davis (VIC).
Davis who made the 400m semi-finals earlier in the week, was passed down the back straight but he responded on the run into the changeover to keep Australia in second.
Harvey Murrant (VIC) who competed in the 400m hurdles here in Tampere took the baton for the third leg and ran well to stay in touch with Italy. He passed to decathlon champion Ashley Moloney (QLD) hot on the tail of Italy with Germany looming.
Down the back straight Moloney sprinted to take the lead from Italy. The Italian Edoardo Scotti, who was fourth in the 400m final here, gave Moloney a push in the back on the way past – assuming not happy with how close Moloney was when he passed him.
With 150 metres to go Moloney slowed, Italy took the lead and Germany pulled up alongside the Australian. It looked like Moloney had lost the second spot but he responded, lunged and stumbled over the line to get awarded second place. Italy won in 3:08.35 and Germany got third in the same time as Australia, 3:08.53, with the photo finish separating the team by the barest of margins.
Great Britain set a world leading mark of 3:07.17 to win heat 1, which the American team subsequently smashed in heat 3 with 3:05.57.
The Australian performance, a season best, ranks them equal third for the final with Germany, who qualified as the fastest non-automatic.
This has been a great event for Australia across the previous World U20s. They have won gold (1998), silver (1988), bronze (1990) and were fifth in 2014.
Women cruise into 4x400m final
Australia’s inform long sprinters, carried their great championships form onto the track for the women’s 4x400m relay heats and ran straight into the final with a dominant performance.
Ella Connolly set off in lane four and delivered a 10 plus metres lead splitting an incredible 52.00 leg. Cara Jardine picked up the running maintaining Australia’s comfortable lead splitting 55.15.
On the third leg, Jemima Russell, who is in great form setting a personal best 800m time earlier in the week, clocked a tremendous 54.51 split as some of the big guns put pressure on her.
The 800m silver medallist Carley Thomas was overtaken on the last leg by the Canadian team and as the Japanese team moved up on to her heels, she responded in the home straight to bring the team home first in a very quick time of 3:35.48, on the back of her own impressive 53.82 split.
Australia will start in the final ranked third on heat times, behind sprint powerhouses America and Jamaica.
McLoughlin just missed discus final
Conor McLoughlin (QLD) missed a spot in the final of the discus by an agonising 14cm.
The Queenslander was in the second qualifying group and opened with 56.57 metres, which was not far from his best and set him up nicely for the final two throws. Unfortunately, his next two attempts were fouls, adding to the disappointment of finishing 13th ranked overall.
Alexander Kolesnikoff (NSW) who made the shot put final earlier in the championships was below his best and finished with 50.75 metres from his three attempts and finished 32nd overall.
Only two athletes achieved the automatic qualifier of 60.00m, with the top qualifier being Yauheni Bahutski (BLR) with 61.72m.
Next Aussies in Action - Day 5 Afternoon Session - Sat 8:20pm AEST to Sat 11:30pm AEST
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