Five young athletes to watch out for in 2015
Sports have been an affair of innumerable instances of greatness, and over the years we are acquainted with a new breed of athletes who are all the more determined and ambitious to push the physiological and psychological limits of the human body. This year the top young athletes have proved their greatness through some spectacular performances and a streak of marked consistency.
Mutaz Essa Barshim
The 23-year old Qatari high jumper has seen to be on a steady rise for a while. Beginning with the Asian Indoor and World Junior championship in 2010, Barshim made his mark the following year by winning a gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championships in Kobe, setting a new national and championship record of 2.35 m. Following that he won gold at the Military World Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with a 2.28 m clearance.
In 2012, he set an Asian record of 2.37m at the Asian Indoor Championships, and doubled up his achievements at the London Olympics with the third place finish, with a jump of 2.29 m. His gradual ascendance to being one of the greatest high jumpers in world became salient with a silver at the World Championships in Moscow in 2013, and the triple gold at the Asian indoor, World Indoor, and the Asian Games in 2014.
In 2014, apart from setting a new Asian Indoor record of 2.38 m, and registering the second highest jump in the history of 2.42m along with arch rival Bohdan Bondarenko, his magical jump of 2.43 m at the Diamond League in September was what made a statement about his talent.
This credited him with the improving his personal record and being the second best high jumper of all time. The ease and the grace with which he executes the flop is what might just prove to be a major threat to Javier Sotomayor’s record of 2.45 m, more than two decades old.
Pedro Pablo Pichardo
Pedro Pablo Pichardo is a Cuban triple jumper, only 21 years old, and already a jump of 18.06 m on May 15, 2015 at the Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix in Doha has made him the third best triple jumper of all time.
The leaps of improvement that been witnessed in his jumps can be traced back to the 2012 World Junior Championships where he registered a jump of 17.34 m. In the following year, he won silver at the World Championships at Moscow, with a jump of 17.68 m.
In 2014 however he bagged the bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships at Sopot with a jump of 17.24. In 2015, Pichardo reached new levels of greatness, by not only breaking the Cuban Triple jump record with a jump of 17.94 m, but also extending his leap to 18.06 m at Qatar, a completion in which his competitor Christian Taylor also jumping 18.04 m (59 ft 2 in) making it the first competition in history to have two men jump over 18 meters.
Although the triple jump record stands at 18.29 m of Jonathan Edwards, Pichardo’s progression has been spectacular and can be seen as a promising one in the competions that lie ahead this year.
Grenada’s first Olympic medalist, Kirani James’ progression into being one of the finest 400 m runners of all times has been a steady climb. Being one of only nine athletes to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletic event, he has to his name gold medals at the CARIFTA Games, Commonwealth Youth Games, World Youth Championship, World Junior Championship, Olympics, World Championship, and Commonwealth Games.
In the 2014 Diamond League event in Lausanne he ran a personal best of 43.74 sec to set a new national record to improve his earlier personal best of 43.96 sec at the 2012 London Olympics where he secured the gold.
An athlete this young but so experienced with immense talent, James, could prove to be a threat to Michael Johnson’s record of 43.18 seconds in the days to come.