The world of Track and Field has been set alight with numerous scintillating performances this year and expectedly so, considering that the 15th IAAF World Championships is around the corner. The record breaking feats of a number of young athletes have already sent shivers down the spines of their older counterparts as the new order, represented by these crop of young athletes, take on their more experienced opponents in Beijing.
Here is Making of Champions’ list of five young athletes to watch out for, four of whom are making their debut at the biennial competition.
He has been dubbed as the next Usain Bolt by some, and there are many reasons for this tag. Zharnel Hughes has Jamaican roots (his mother is Jamaican); he stands at 6ft 3in (Bolt is 6ft 5in); he began athletics as a schoolboy, competing in the 200m/400m just like Bolt; he lives in Jamaica, and also trains with the Racers Track Club alongside the likes of Bolt and Yohan Blake….the similarities are endless!
Hughes will not be competing for the Caribbean nation though, as it was confirmed in June that he would henceforth represent Great Britain at international events. The 20-year old’s father is Anguillan, and qualifies as British by virtue of Anguilla’s status as an overseas territory. However, Hughes says he was inspired by the move of fellow Anguillan, Shara Proctor in 2011; Proctor is currently the British Long Jump record-holder.
He was awarded a scholarship to attend the IAAF’s Regional High Performance Training Centre in Jamaica in 2012. He enrolled at Kingston College for his senior year of high school and in 2013, competed in the highly anticipated Boys and Girls Championships, the biggest athletics competition in Jamaica where he erased Blake’s Meeting Record (MR) of 10.21s with a new mark of 10.12s.
He began the 2015 season with a 2nd place finish behind training partner, Bolt on his Diamond League debut in New York. He claimed his first British title in the 200m, before lowering his time to 20.13s at the Diamond League in Lausanne, becoming the youngest ever winner of a Diamond League sprint and the first British male to win a Diamond League 100m/200m event. He went on to win the London Diamond League with a Personal Best (PB) of 20.05s, and is 14th in the 200m on the 2015 world rankings. It remains to be seen if he can upset the ranks in Beijing!
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