Some of the outstanding athletes at last year’s European Athletics U20 Championships in Tallinn last July were in excellent early season form in meetings across the United States this weekend.
In San Diego on Saturday (26), reigning world and European U20 discus champion Mykolas Alekna smashed his lifetime best by more than three metres in one of his first competitions with the senior two kilogram implement.
Still only 19, Alekna took advantage of the conducive wind conditions in San Diego to throw 66.70m to move to fourth on the Lithuanian all-time list behind a trio of global champions: 1992 Olympic champion Romas Ubartas (68.18m), 2017 world champion Andrius Gudzius (69.59m) and Mykolas’ father Virgilijus (73.88m), a two-time Olympic and world champion.
Virgilijus’ two sons look set to continue the Alekna family dynasty and their country’s excellent all-round tradition in the event. Mykolas’ older brother Martynas, 21, also won the U23 event at the European Throwing Cup in Leiria, Portugal earlier this month.
At the Texas Relays in Austin, European U20 100m champion Toby Makoyawo clocked a lifetime best of 10.12 in the 100m heats before sailing to a wind-aided 9.90 (+4.6) in the final while fellow European U20 100m champion Rhasidat Adeleke demonstrated her awesome versatility with a 50.5 lead-off leg in the 4x400m for the University of Texas which set a world lead of 3:22.94.
Adeleke also ran the third leg of their victorious 4x100m team who combined to set another world leading time of 42.83.
Former European U20 long jump silver medallist Jacob Fincham-Dukes jumped a massive albeit wind-aided 8.45m in the long jump - also a wind-legal 8.06m - and Norway’s Sondre Guttormsen cleared an early season world lead of 5.75m in the pole vault only six days after finishing eighth at the World Athletics Indoor Championships.
Reigning European champion Katerina Stefanidi from Greece finished third in the pole vault with 4.65m off an abbreviated 14-step approach. Sweden’s Lisa Gunnarsson was fourth on countback, her 4.65m clearance also equating to a lifetime best.