1st August 2022


Day one of the World Athletics U20 Championships got off to the best possible start for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Juniors during the morning session in Cali, Colombia.

There was a confident tactical display from Ethan Hussey (Andrew Henderson) in the first round of the 1500m. The Leeds City athlete stayed calm in difficult temperatures to take an automatic qualifying spot for the Final in 3:46.18, finishing third in the third and final heat. Hussey is aware the man to beat is Reynold Kipkorir Cheruiyot of Kenya who stunned the Cali crowd with his run of 3.40.96 to top the rankings for the final.

He said afterwards, “It was scrappy from the start, but being in the final heat, you know what we had to do to qualify. But the pace wasn’t quite there from the start, so I knew I was going to have to get top three. I trusted in myself and my kick, and my positioning may not have been great but I did it and I got to the final so I can’t ask for more than that.”

Cleo Agyepong (John Hillier, Blackheath & Bromley) opened her account in the women’s shot put with 14.63m to claim the 12th and final qualifying spot in tomorrow’s Final. The European Under 18 Champion was satisfied with her performance to qualify but knows she can improve the distance. She said, “I wasn’t quite executing the way I can, but I am glad that I have qualified to have a chance to change it in the final tomorrow.”

There were mixed emotions for GB & NI in the women’s 800m. Abigail Ives (Luke Gunn, Basildon) was a comfortable automatic qualifier for the semi-final with her composed 2.07.35. She said, “I’m happy with it. It was a little bit of a messy race, but it felt quite good, and I am just happy that I secured it in automatic qualifying.”

A learning experience for Iris Downes (Colin Lancaster, Shrewsbury) – European U18 bronze medallist last month – who was forced to run wide for much of the race. Her fifth-place finish in 2.10.56 saw her miss out on progressing to the next round. “It’s just been amazing to come here. I wasn’t even thinking I would get into the team. I really wanted to be in the semi-final, but it’s all a learning experience. I will learn for next time.”

The final event of the morning was the heats of the men’s 100m and it ended in winning ways with a first-place finish for Michael Onilogbo (Carl Graham, Newham & Essex Beagles) in the fifth heat of the short sprint. His 10.39 (-1.2m/s) secured automatic qualification for the semi-finals on Tuesday afternoon.

Taking the honour of first to compete was Sammy Ball (Michael Dyer, Reading AC) in the decathlon. Ball made the most of his middle lane in heat two and stormed to a personal best time of 10.90 (+0.9m/s).

From there to long jump where his best leap of 6.71m was a little short of his PB of 7.17m. Ball then launched a shot put of 14.55m to round off his first morning of competition. His combined points (2391) at this stage see the 17-year-old lying a creditable fifth overall.