World U20 Championships Day 1 Recap: Abadie Earns Medal

* Baton Rouge St. Michaels graduate Heather Abadie finished third in the women's pole vault at the World U20 Championships

Photo Credit: David Pedigo

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With college move-in and the next chapter of her career nearing, Heather Abadie, a recently-minted graduate of Baton Rouge St. Michael High School, knew there was just one thing left on the calendar to accomplish. 

And honestly, who wouldn't accept the opportunity to represent their country at the international level? 

And so, on the first day of the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya -- a competition that did not include U.S. athletes -- the 18-year-old Abadie did just that, putting together an impressive set of clearances in the women's pole vault to finish third overall in the finals, clearing 4.05 (13 feet, 3.5 inches) meters. 

Abadie's runs went well through the first three take-offs, with the Texas A&M bound vaulter clearing 3.80 meters, 3.95 and 4.05 on three straight attempts. 

Her next attempts at 4.15, however, went slightly off cue and followed with three straight misses. 

In recent weeks, after changing pole vault gyms closer to Baton Rouge and working on a better run technique, getting her hands up earlier and swinging through on the take-off, things had truly come together. 

At the start of August in Humble, Texas, Abadie posted an outdoor best of 4.25 meters (13-11.25) at the AAU Junior Olympic Games, winning her first national title. 

That proceeded a senior season had saw her clear 13 feet a total of three other times, including a mark of 13-4.25 in April at the Grizzly Relays. Abadie closed her high school career with three state titles across the outdoor and indoor seasons in Louisiana. 

But obviously, Wednesday's performance was a culmination of all that work. Abadie is a native of Port Elgin, Ontario

South African vaulter Mire Reinstorf secured a new Area U20 record of 4.15 meters (13-7.25), clearing the height on her first attempt. Second-place Elise Russis, of France, was second after clearing 4.15 on her second take-off. 

Abadie, by virtue of her clean set of jumps heading into 4.05, was third overall.

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Full World U20 Championship Day 1 Results


While the United States did not field a team at this year's World U20 Championships, MileSplit will report on athletes who have affiliation or ties to the American high school system. A total of 115 countries are represented at this year's games. 

Women's 100m Prelims: Bahamian Camille Rutherford, a 2020 graduate of Richmond George Ranch (TX) and a current University of Houston sprinter, won Heat 1 in 11.59 seconds. It was the third-fastest time of the prelims. The Cougar was also an NCAA Championship qualifier this past spring. Two heats later, Beatrice Masilingi of Nambia -- who was banned from competing at the Tokyo Olympics due to national testosterone levels being abnormally high -- secured a new Nambia national U20 record in 11.20 seconds. 

Women's 100m Semifinals: Rutherford did not advance to the finals after securing a performance of 11.72 seconds. Jamaica's Tina Clayton secured the top performance of 11.34 as she heads into the finals on Thursday. 

Men's 100m Prelims: Two Bahamians who starred at the AAU Club Championships in July secured qualifying times to the semifinals. Wendell Miller, the 400m Bahamian U20 record holder, ran a time of 10.51 seconds, while Carlos Brown followed in 10.53. Both athletes competed for Swift Athletics at AAU. Meanwhile, a Texan also made his passage through to the next round. Nazzio John, a recent graduate of San Antonio Roosevelt who finished fourth in the 100m and second in the 200m at the AAU Junior Olympic Games, ran a qualifying time of 10.59 seconds. He is representing Granada. 

Men's 100m Semifinals: When he needed a wind-legal career best, John came through. The Texan secured his fastest overall wind-legal mark with a time of 10.32 (+0.4) seconds to secure the seventh-fastest time of the semifinals. John was fourth in Heat 2. Both Miller and Brown did not advance from the semifinals.

Women's 400m Prelims: Nigerian Imaobong Nse Uko led the heats with a leading time of 52.33 seconds. 2020 Harford Technical (MD) graduate Caitlin Bobb, of Bermuda, did not advance after being disqualified. 

Men's 400m Prelims: Two athletes broke 46 seconds and 47.05 was the final qualifying time as Mexico's Luis Aviles Ferreiro secured the top first round performance of 45.63 seconds.