Events & Meetings

10 to watch at the 2021 European Athletics U20 Championships in Tallinn

  • News
  • 10 to watch at the 2021 European Athletics U20 Championships in Tallinn

With the Tallinn 2021 European Athletics U20 Championships beginning tomorrow (15) morning, we pick out 10 of the outstanding prospects from across the continent who are worth following during the championships.

All sessions will be streamed live through the European Athletics website and with expert English-language commentary. There will be additional streams showcasing some of the field events as well as a dedicated long throws stream on the European Athletics' YouTube channel.

Krzysztof Roznicki (POL), 800 metres

Long-time standard bearers of middle distance running in Poland Marcin Lewandowski and Adam Kszczot might be nearing the latter stages of their illustrious careers but Polish athletics fans needn’t worry about the future. 

Still only 17, Krzystof Różnicki upset some established names to win the Polish senior title last August and the teenager made another massive step forward this summer at the Janusz Kusociński Memorial in Chorzow, slashing three seconds off his 800m lifetime best with 1:44.51.

This time was comfortably within the Olympic qualifying standard but with a view to the future, Różnicki will be focusing on junior events including a tilt at the 800m title in Tallinn. With European U20 record-holder Max Burgin sadly injured, Różnicki seems a safe bet for the title.

How to follow: Instagram

Sasha Zhoya (FRA), 110m hurdles, 4x100m relay

The precocious Sasha Zhoya will be making his long awaited and highly anticipated debut in French colours in Tallinn where he could quite possibly rewrite the record books in the 110m hurdles if the conditions cooperate. 

Zhoya has the unique distinction of simultaneously holding world U18 bests in the pole vault and 110m hurdles - his world U18 best in the former has since been improved by Belarus’ Matvei Volkov who is competing in Tallinn - but the 19-year-old has been focusing on the sprint hurdles in recent seasons.

Zhoya scared the world U20 record of 12.99 which is held by compatriot Wilhem Belocian with two scintillating performances at the French U20 Championships. Zhoya clocked 13.02 in the semifinal to win by one clear barrier before winning the final in a marginally wind-aided 13.06. Does a sub-13 second performance beckon in Tallinn?

How to follow: Instagram

Rhasidat Adeleke (IRL), 100 metres, 200 metres, 4x400m relay

Having been on the radar of the Irish sprinting scene for some time already, Adeleke came to wider prominence when she won the 200m at the 2018 European U18 Championships in Gyor at the age of 15.

Since then, Adeleke has relocated to the United States to study and to further her athletics career and the 18-year-old is seemingly thriving in the US collegiate system. She is the top-ranked European this season at both 100m (11.31) and 200m (22.96) at U20 level and could challenge for a sprint double although it would mean racing six times in the space of three days.

For posterity the last athlete to achieve the women’s 100m and 200m double was Jodie Williams a decade ago when the European U20 Championships were last held in Tallinn.

How to follow: Instagram

Mykolas Alekna (LTU), discus throw

Virgilijus Alekna is one of the most decorated discus throwers in history and his two sons are continuing his legacy in the event.

His oldest son Martynas Alekna finished seventh at the European Athletics U23 Championships and his youngest son Mykolas could quite possibly achieve two things his father did not achieve: a gold medal in an age-group championships and a world record.

Based on marks set with the 1.75kg implement, the 18-year-old Alekna tops the world U20 list by three metres with 69.77m which puts Mykyta Nesterenko’s world U20 record of 70.13m into clear view.  

How to follow: Instagram

Violetta Ignatyeva (ANA), discus

Marks set in the Soviet era are seldom broken these days but Violetta Ignatyeva recently eclipsed the Russian U20 discus record which had stood since 1981 to none other than Natalya Lisovskaya.

Ignatyeva’s mark of 62.54m broke Lisovskaya’s 40-year-old record by 26 centimetres and puts her at the top of the world U20 list by more than three metres ahead of Türkiye’s Ozlem Becerek (59.15m) and reigning champion Alida van Daalen from the Netherlands (57.20m).

How to follow: Instagram

Ditaji Kambundji (SUI), 100m hurdles, 4x100m relay

Another competitor from a famous athletics family to compete in Tallinn is Ditaji Kambundji, the younger sister of world 200m bronze medallist Mujinga.

Unlike her sisters Mujinga and Muswana, Ditaji has found her niche in the sprint hurdles. The 19-year-old is only the third European to break the 13 second-barrier in the 100m hurdles as a junior, a feat which she has already achieved three times this year.

With a lifetime best of 12.94, the championship record of 13.09 from 1995 which is held by Ukraine’s Olena Krasovska, a future Olympic silver medallist, is certainly within Kambundji’s compass as well.

How to follow: Instagram

Tazana Kamanga-Dyrbak (DEN), 200 metres

Only 19, Tazana Kamanga-Dyrbak is one of a select group of athletes who will be headed to the Tokyo Olympic Games after competing in Tallinn. Kamanga-Dyrbak is part of an emerging and well-drilled Danish 4x100m team and by competing in Tokyo, he will emulate his father Jens-Peter who represented Denmark in swimming in Barcelona 1992.

Based in Nairobi for the majority of the year, Kamanga-Dyrbak’s focus will be solely on the individual 200m in Tallinn and he leads the European U20 list by almost half-a-second with his lifetime best of 20.48.

How to follow: Instagram

Jente Hauttekeete (BEL), decathlon

Belgium has an illustrious recent tradition in the combined events and Jente Hauttekeete will be looking to add to his country’s esteemed record with a gold medal in the decathlon.

Hauttekeete currently tops the world U20 list in the decathlon with 8034 points and if he translates this form across the weekend, he could very possibly emulate one of his idols Thomas Van der Plaetsen who won the European U20 title in 2009.

How to follow: Instagram

Kornelia Lesiewicz (POL), 400 metres, 4x400m relay

Kornelia Lesiewicz has been a key part of Poland’s relay team this year but her first priority in Tallinn will be to secure the individual 400m title. The 17-year-old will be competing against athletes up to two years her senior but she leads the European U20 list with a recently set lifetime best of 52.02.

In terms of her relay credentials, Lesiewicz was part of Poland’s bronze medal-winning team at the European Indoor Championships in Torun where she was the youngest athlete to win the medal. She also ran the second leg of the victorious Polish 4x400m team at the European Athletics Team Championships Super League.

How to follow: Instagram

Elina Tzengko (GRE), javelin

Only 18, Tzengko has already launched the javelin out to a lifetime best of 63.96m. This performance was also in excess of the world U20 record of 63.86m although this performance could not be ratified as an official mark.

Tzengko hasn’t already produced her best form in championships but the Youth Olympic Games winner is looking to not only win the gold medal in Tallinn but to also claim official ownership of the world U20 record.

How to follow: Instagram

Official Partners
Official Partners
Official Partners
Official Partners
Official Partners
Official Partners
Broadcast Partner
Broadcast Partner
Preferred Suppliers
Supporting Hotel
Photography Agency