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28 Marrakesh youth champions to compete in Beijing
Latest Updated by 2006-08-10 10:45:19
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Among the 1400 athletes who will take part in next week's IAAF World Junior Championships in Beijing, 28 world youth champions shinning in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh last year will compete.

The biennial World Junior Championships feature athletes under 20 years old, while the World Youth Championships are held every other year for those at age 15, 16 or 17 on 31st December in the year of competition.

An IAAF press release issued on Wednesday said that 14 male and 14 female Marrakesh World Youth champions will compete in Beijing.

The local crowd will support the five Chinese athletes who won gold medals in Marrakesh and have all been selected to defend their country's chances on home soil. Huang Haiqiang (Men's High Jump), Yang Yansheng (Men's Pole Vault), Gu Biwei (Women's High Jump), Sha Li (Women's Triple Jump) and Zhang Li (Women's Javelin Throw) will aim at bettering the country's best total of 8 gold medals from the 1992 edition of these championships.

Great Britain's Harry Aikines-Aryeetey who achieved a superb sprint double to win the IAAF Rising Star award is scheduled to compete in the men's 100m and the sprint relay in the Chinese capital.

Should the 17-year-old win the individual gold in Beijing he would become the second Briton to achieve the World Youth/World Junior double at 100m since Olympic relay champion Mark Lewis-Francis in 1999/2000.

The Sudanese pair of Adam Mohammed Al-Noor and Nawal El Jack who won the boys- and girls- 400m gold medals respectively last year in Marrakesh will also be present in China although, just like every other champion from Marrakesh, they will compete against older athletes.

The 2005 US Youth athlete of the year, Ebony Collins who placed second in the women's 100m and first in the women's 400m Hurdles in Morocco will also be expected to perform well in Beijing although being born in 1989 she will be amongst the youngest participants and will still be eligible to compete in the World Junior Championships in two-year time in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

It will be exciting to watch the re-match between Australia's Dani Samuels who won the Discus Throw gold medal in Marrakesh but came third in the Shot Put in a final dominated by Simon- du Toit of South Africa who had previously been beaten into second by Samuels in the discus.

Other than Lewis-Francis, other big names of our sport saw their career launched by a World Youth / World Junior double.

Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia won the inaugural edition of the IAAF World Youth Championships in 1999 and went on to become World Junior champion a year later in Santiago de Chile. The 24-year-old who was also ninth at the 1998 World Junior Championships has since gone on to become World Outdoor and Indoor champion, Olympic champion, multiple World record breaker and twice consecutively the IAAF Athlete of the Year!

Jamaica's Veronica Campbell won the 100m Youth gold seven years ago and backed it up with a sprint double just a year later before becoming the 2004 Olympic champion at 200m.

Jana Pittman, who is currently on maternity leave won the 400m Hurdles at the 1999 World Youth Championships, the 400m/400m Hurdles Junior double a year later and the 400m Hurdles World senior title in 2003.

Among others, Trinidad and Tobago's 2003 World silver medallist Darrel Brown also achieved a World Youth / World Junior double at 100m in 2001/2002 while Commonwealth champion Augustine Choge of Kenya won the 3000m World Youth title in 2003 and the 5000m World Junior title in 2004.

Editor: Donald

By: Source: China View website
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