Filippo Tortu won a silver medal behind Noah Lyles in the 100m at the World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz last summer and the 18-year-old is continuing to crest an upward curve, opening his summer season with a record-breaking time of 10.15 in Savona on Thursday (25) evening.
Lyles graduated into the senior ranks after winning gold in Bydgoszcz and Tortu looks equally set to conclude his junior career with major honours at the European Athletics U20 Championships, which will be held on home soil in Grosseto from 20-23 July.
Less than a month after celebrating his 18th birthday last year, Tortu broke the Italian U20 100m record with a 10.19 clocking, a mark which he improved upon in his first outdoor competition of the season.
After cruising through the heats in 10.21, Tortu stopped the clock in the final at 10.15 - a time which would won the last two editions of the European U20 Championships.
'It is an unforgettable joy!” Tortu told after the race. “This 10.15 is maybe one of the few unexpected times of my career. I usually know what to expect on the basis of my workouts, but today I surprised myself, because I certainly did not think I was going to do a record.”
Tortu, who just missed out on a place in the final at the European Championships in Amsterdam last summer, will next race over 200m in the Rome Diamond League on 8 June. He will cross paths with Lyles again, who made waves earlier this month with a world-leading 19.90 clocking in Shanghai.
“I honestly do not know what to expect,' said Tortu. 'Of course I cannot wait to go to Rome and run on the Olympic Stadium track because it must be a fantastic feeling. The 19.90 in Shanghai by Noah Lyles, my U20 opponent last year, was spectacular! Who knows what the stopwatch will tell me on 8 June?”
#atletica @tortufil giÃ da #record!— Atletica Italiana (@atleticaitalia) May 25, 2017
a Savona corre i 100 metri in 10.15 (+0.9)
...è RECORD ITALIANO JUNIOR!
Road to #Grosseto2017 pic.twitter.com/uwY3ntk7VW
Tortu was not the only Italian U20 record-breaker in Savona as Elisa Di Lazzaro sped to a 100m hurdles time of 13.24, taking a massive 0.25 off the previous record, which had stood to Veronica Borsi since 2005, and 0.29 off her own personal best set just five days before in Modena.
Di Lazzaro now stands second on the 2017 European U20 list, just behind France's Cyrena Samba-Mayela who ran 13.22 in Toulouse earlier this month.