EUGENE, Ore. – When Lance Deal, the Director of Track & Field Venues and Program Support at the University of Oregon, helped design the current configuration of the hammer field at Hayward Field, he placed the boundary fence at the back of the sector at 88 meters.
And with good reason.
Deal, a four-time Olympian, who set the U.S. hammer record of 82.52 meters (270 feet, 9 inches) in 1996, the same season he won a silver medal at the Atlanta Summer Games, wanted to make sure the fence was beyond the world record of 86.74m.
Nobody has come close since the fence was installed in 2007.
On Friday night, however, 19-year-old Ashraf Amgad Elseify of Qatar gave it his best shot at the IAAF World Junior Championships.
The junior athletes, of course, use the lighter 6-kilogram implement, as opposed to the senior 7-kilogram hammer.
Elseify, who was born in Egypt, successfully defended his World Junior title with a monster throw of 277-11 which hit the fence on one hop. He was so dominant that he finished with the top six throws of the competition: 268-5, 277-3, 273-7, 271-10, 277-11 and 267-7.
Afterwards, the personable Elseify celebrated with a series of acrobatic back flips on the home stretch of his victory lap, and then admitted that he wanted to hurl the hammer through the fence.
“I hoped to hit the wall,” he said. “I hoped to break the record, but it’s OK.”
Elseify’s performance was just one of numerous highlights witnessed by 8,937 fans on Friday. Attendance has increased on each day of the competition and the four-day total stands at 30,986.
- Team USA continued to show well in the sprints as 16-year-old Kaylin Whitney claimed the gold medal in the women’s 200 meters with a time of 22.82 seconds. Whitney flinched in the blocks, but was only given a warning by officials, and allowed to stay in the race. On the men’s side, Trentavis Friday was dominant with a wind-aided victory in 20.04.
- The top four finishers in the men’s high jump all achieved personal bests of 7-4 ¼ in a riveting competition that had fans in both the West and East Grandstands engaged with loud rhythmic clapping. In the end, it was Russia’s Mikhail Akimenko claiming gold based on fewer misses.
- Jamaica’s Jaheel Hyde took first place in the 400 hurdles at 49.29 seconds, while Team USA’s Tim Holmes earned bronze in 50.07. The American women went 1-3 in the open 400m behind Kendall Baisden (51.85) and Olivia Baker (53.00).
- China’s Tianqian Guo was never challenged in the women’s shot put with a winning throw of 58-1 ¼, while Brazil’s Izabela Da Silva won gold in the discus at 190-4. Team USA claimed silver in both events behind Raven Saunders in the shot put (54-6 ¾) and Stanford’s Valarie Allman in the discus (186-2).
- Ethiopia placed 1-2 in the men’s 5,000 meters behind Yomif Kejelcha (13:25.19) and Yasin Haji (13:26.21). The top American finisher was Colby Gilbert in ninth at 14:09.98.