BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – Defending champion Konrad Bukowiecki highlighted the first day of the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 on Tuesday with a massive throw to set a new World U20 Record in the men’s Shot Put during the evening session.
Bukowiecki, who led the qualifiers in the morning session with a mark of 21.73m, returned in the final to punch out a first round mark of 22.46m, before heaving the iron ball to a stunning 23.34m, which bettered the 1990 previous record of 23.00 by New Zealand’s Jacko Gill, who did his standard in 2013.
“I can’t believe I just cried,” said Bukowiecki.
“I don’t know what just happened.”
Romania’s Andrei Toader produced a national U20 record of 22.30m to trim the gap between him and the Poland star, but had no answers for the returning champion who was unstoppable from his first toss.
Toader was quite comfortable with winning the silver, while the bronze went to American Bronson Osborn, who did 21.27m in the third round of the competition.
Bukowiecki also had a massive attempt in his last threw, but the Pole couldn’t keep his balance and step out of the ring for a foul.
“The last attempt was the longest, but it was a foul,” he noted. “I’m not as fast as I want.
“However now I’m really glad, because I’ve broken the world U20 record and defended my world U20 title.
“I have cried after competition for the first time because of happiness.”
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In the first running final at the championships, Rodgers Kwemoi of Kenya produced a new Championships record of 27:25.23 to win the gold medal in the men’s 10,000m.
Kwemoi timed his finishing kick to perfection – covering the last lap in 57 seconds – to sprint away from his rivals and finished with two different celebrations before crossing the finishing line.
“I came here expecting to win,” he said. “I took the race out fast, because I felt it would give me the best chance of winning.
“Once we were on the last lap, I knew I would take it.”
Eritrean Aron Kifle took the silver in a new national U20 record of 27:26.20 and Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo grabbing the bronze with a personal best of 27:26.68.
Jamaica’s Tiffany James ran the fastest time in the women’s 400m heats, posting 52.98 when dominating her competitors in the fourth race.
James’ compatriot Junelle Bromfield, a very strong gold medal contender, was also an impressive heat winner in the evening session, after she crossed the finishing line in 53.21.
Maureen Nyatichi Thomas of Kenya won her heat in 53.04, Cuba’s Roxana Gomes took the third race in 53.16, with USA’s Lynna Irby (53.08) and Mexico’s Paola Moran (53.96) also advancing to the semi-finals as heat winners.
Earlier, in the first final of the championships, Zhenxia Ma of China produced a time of 45:18.45 to secure the gold medal in the women’s 10k race walk.
Ma got home ahead of Noemi Stella of Italy who grabbed the silver medal with 45:23.85 and Ethiopia’s Yehualeye Beletew, who did 45:33.69 for the bronze medal.
“This is the biggest success of my career,” a delighted Stella said. “I did not expect this, but during the race I felt good and I just did the best I could.”