One championship record was broken and another was equalled within the first hour of competition on the second morning session of the Tallinn 2021 European Athletics U20 Championships on Friday (16).
As expected, world U20 record-holder Silja Kosonen made light work of the automatic qualifying distance of 63.00m in the women’s hammer. The Finn qualified for the final with her first throw of qualifying with 68.75m which also bettered the championship record of 68.59m set by Romania’s Bianca Perie in 2009.
“I surprised myself with such a long first throw. The aim was just to reach the qualification mark in the first series. It looks I am well prepared - at least I hope so,” said Kosonen.
Kosonen has extended the world U20 record to 73.43m this summer although the Tokyo-bound Finn’s main priority is to secure the gold medal in the final. Any thoughts about records are very much of a secondary matter for Kosonen.
“I do not want to put any pressure on myself and I am not that kind of person to think about breaking the world record. We will see how it goes. The circle is fine for me. My coach is coming tomorrow, also my family, so it is good to know they are going to be here to support me,” she said.
In the 100m hurdles heats, Switzerland’s Ditaji Kambundji reaffirmed her status as the gold medal favourite. Making the most of the fast track surface and a 1.9 m/s tailwind, the 19-year-old stopped the clock at 13.09 in the first heat to equal the 26-year-old championship record held by Ukraine’s Yelena Krasovska.
“The goal was just to make a good race, to stay concentrated, get into the running and prepare for the semis and finals. This is a good track, the weather conditions are amazing, it’s good competition, so anything can happen,” said Kambundji, the younger sister of world 200m bronze medallist Mujinga and fellow international Swiss sprinter Muswama.
“I'm sure my big sisters are watching and are proud,” said Ditaji who was the fastest qualifier by exactly three-tenths of a second from Poland’s Weronika Barcz (13.39) and Austria’s Johanna Plank (13.41).
Sasha Zhoya from France also secured a comfortable passage into the 110m hurdles semifinals. He cruised to victory in the third heat in 13.52, the fastest time of the morning although the 19-year-old has run exactly half-a-second faster in the U20 110m hurdles this year.
“It's very very early in the morning, and I am not a morning person. Getting up early to do a race at 10am, it's not exactly the best for me and my body, but it had to be done and get through to the finals. The race itself was not the cleanest, but it was enough to get us through to the next race and got us that first position,” said Zhoya.
Other heat winners included his teammate Erwann Cinna in a lifetime best of 13.57 and Dutchmen Matthew Sophia and Mark Heiden in 13.57 and 13.82 respectively.
Full results here.