Team USA Closes Final Day Of IAAF World Youth Championships With Biggest Medal Haul In Meet History
Candace Hill became the second female to sweep the 100m and 200m events at the IAAF World Youth Championships, as she wrapped up her competition with a World Youth Record of 22.43 in the 200m finals on Sunday.
Eight gold. Five silver. Six bronze.
Team USA recorded a total medal count of nineteen on Sunday, July 19 to wrap the 9th IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia as the most successful nation in meet history.
The squad's brightest star in Candace Hill, a rising junior at Rockdale County High School in Ga., clinched a bit of history in becoming the second-ever female to sweep both the 100m and 200m sprints at the championship meet.
Hill, the National High School Record holder for 100m with her historic 10.98 last month, ran 22.43 to not only winthe 200m Finals but set a new World Youth Best in the event. Teammate Lauren Rain Williams ran for runner-up honors with her own personal record of 22.9. Hill's time ranks U.S. No. 2 All-Time behind only Allyson Felix's 22.11 National High School Record, while Williams now ties for U.S. No. 10 All-Time*, though it must be noted that both times were run at altitude at the meet venue in South America.
The Men's 200m saw the return of 400m silver medalist Josephus Lyles. The T.C. Williams, Va. rising senior placed third in a new personal best and U.S. No. 4 time of 20.74 (-0.4). Hakim Sani Brown of Japan broke Usain Bolt's Championship Record, set in 2003, with a 20.34 effort that completed his own 100m/200m double victory.
Sammy Watson of Rush-Henrietta, N.Y. continued her undefeated season at the 800m distance, clocking a personal best and U.S. No. 1 time of 2:03.54. The rising junior was one of the slowest off the starting line, but navigated her way to fourth position by 300m while running in the outside lane. The pack crossed 400m in about 63 high, as she timed her kick perfectly to break away over the final 200m. Gadese Ejara of Ethipia challenged her through the finish, but was never able to gain ground over the two-time NBN champion and ran 2:03.67 for runner-up honors. Watson's time is the second-fastest all-time mark amongst New York school girls behind only Mary Cain’s 1:59.51.
Tara Davis, shown here competing in the triple jump, became the first-ever American gold medalist in the long jump with her new personal best and U.S. No. 2 mark of 6.41m (21-00.25).
Tara Davis of Agoura, Calif. became the first American to win gold at the World Youth Champs in the long jump with her new personal best mark of 6.41m (21-00.25). The rising junior spent much of the competition in second position behind Kaiza Karlén of Sweden until she launched 6.24m to tie the Swede on her fifth attempt. That jump moved her into first overall, as her second-best effort at the time was better than that of Karlén. Davis ended the contest on the final and sixth attempt with the 6.41m leap, which ranks U.S. No. 2 this year behind only National High School Record holder Kate Hall.
Dual USA/Sweden citizen Armand Duplantis won the Pole Vault with a new personal best and Championship Record of 5.30m (17-4.75) while competing in the yellow and blue for Sweden. "Mondo," as he is commonly called, engaged in a two-man battle with Vladyslav Malykhin of Ukraine for top honors as both athletes cleared 5.30m. Neither cleared the next height of 5.35m and Duplantis, who hails from Lafayette, La., took the win on less misses overall. The National Freshman Class Record holder improved his own U.S. No. 4 mark as well as his ninth-grade standard.
The meet ended with the Mixed 4x400m Relay, a first-ever event at this championship. Team USA ran in full force with a squad full of individual medalists at this championships: Keshun Reed (bronze, 400m), Lynna Irby (silver, 400m), Norman Grimes (gold, 400m hurdles), and Sammy Watson (gold, 800m), in that order. Reed got out strong but it was Irby who strung the field out to a four-plus second lead that Grimes and Watson held to finish in 3:19.54 as South Africa ran 3:23.6 for runner-up honors.
* - Lauren Rain Williams owns a wind-aided best of 22.68 (+3.2). Allyson Felix's National High School Record in the 200m of 22.11 was also raced at altitude.