USA’s Michael Norman came to the IAAF World Junior Championships as the man to beat in the 200m after setting a Personal Best (PB) of 20.14s at the US Trials earlier this month. However, he would be put to the test by South Africa’s pair of Clarence Munyai and Tlotliso Leotlela, who has been impressive thus far.
Munyai clocked the fastest time overall in the 200m semis where he posted 20.54s to win Heat 1, inspiring the next three athletes behind him to PBs. It wasn’t a coincidence therefore that Roger Gurski (20.64s), Japan’s Jun Yamashita (20.67s) and Cameron Tindle of Great Britain (20.71s) all set PBs to finish in 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively, sailing through to the final, while the remaining heats could only produce two qualifiers each.
It was a similar story in the preliminaries the previous day as athletes who finished in 2nd to 5th positions behind Munyai also set PBs. Norman won Heat 2 of the semis in 20.71s, qualifying for the final with Chun-Han Yang of Taipei who placed 2nd in 20.90s.
Leotlela, who narrowly missed a podium finish in the 100m, left nothing to chance, dominating Heat 3 in a time of 20.58s. The Commonwealth Youth Champion was followed by Jamaica’s Nigel Ellis (20.78s) in 2nd. Vladislav Grigoryev (21.08s) and Nigeria’s Emmanuel Arowolo (21.16s) placed 3rd and 4th respectively, missing out on Friday’s final.