World indoor records from Hugues Fabrice Zango and Ryan Crouser, plus a handful of world U20 records set by teenage talents Sasha Zhoya and Erriyon Knighton in 2021, are among the latest marks to have been ratified.
Zango produced one of the first stand-out performances of 2021. The triple jumper from Burkina Faso bounded out to a sensational 18.07m last-round leap in Aubiere on 16 January.
It was the first time the 18-metre barrier had been surpassed indoors, and it broke the world indoor record of 17.92m that had been set by Zango’s coach, Teddy Tamgho, at the European Indoor Championships in Paris on 6 March 2011.
“With this distance, I feel immense pride and joy to have accomplished something unique,” said the world bronze medallist, who went on to set an African outdoor record of 17.82m during the outdoor season before taking bronze at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
US shot putter Crouser started the year as he meant to go on at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver meeting in Fayetteville on 24 January.
In what was his first outing of 2021, and in the first round of the competition, the 28-year-old launched his shot out to 22.82m, breaking the long-standing world indoor record of 22.66m that had been set by USA’s Randy Barnes in Los Angeles on 20 January 1989.
Crouser backed up his winning throw with efforts of 22.70m, also beyond the previous world indoor record, and 22.48m.
“I felt really nervous on the first throw, but I had a ton of energy,” he said. “I feel like there’s more there.”
His instinct turned out to be right; later in the year, Crouser went on to break the world record with 23.37m, then retained his Olympic title with an Olympic record of 23.30m before going on to set a Wanda Diamond League record of 23.15m in Eugene.
Knighton was one of the revelations of the US Olympic Trials in Eugene. The 17-year-old breezed through his 200m heat in a world U18 best of 20.04, then won his semifinal in a world U20 record of 19.88 – which was ratified earlier in the year – and eventually placed third in the final on 27 June, improving his own world U20 record to 19.84 and booking his place on USA’s Olympic team.
Knighton went on to place fourth in the Olympic final in 19.93, just 0.19 shy of a medal. He will be an U20 athlete throughout all of 2022 and 2023.
Zhoya has been similarly prolific in his record-breaking this year. The French sprint hurdler dipped under 13 seconds for the 110m hurdles (99cm height) on his way to winning the European U20 title in July, marking him as the favourite for the world U20 title in Nairobi in August.
He still managed to exceed expectations, though. He sped to a world U20 record of 12.93 (-0.4m/s) in the semifinals on 20 August and then went significantly faster in the final on 21 August, clocking 12.72 (1.0m/s).
“It’s the quickest time on any hurdle height and that makes me really happy,” said Zhoya.
“Now all I need to do is to replicate my junior performance to the senior category as I now focus into transiting into the seniors.”
One day later, on the final day of the World Athletics U20 Championships Nairobi 21, there were two world U20 records within the space of 15 minutes.
Jamaica’s quartet of Serena Cole, individual 100m champion Tina Clayton, Kerrica Hill and Tia Clayton sped to victory in the women’s 4x100m in 42.94, smashing the previous world U20 record of 43.27 that had been set by Germany at the European U20 Championships in Grosseto on 23 July 2017.
“It’s great that Tia was able to win a medal because she didn’t have a chance to win a medal in the 100m,” Tina Clayton said of her twin sister. “She came out here and executed well.”
South Africa’s quartet of Mihali Xhotyeni, Sinesipho Dambile, Letlhogonolo Moleyane and Benjamin Richardson were similarly well-drilled en route to their 38.51 triumph in the men’s race 15 minutes later.
Their time broke the world U20 record of 38.62 that had been set by the USA in San Jose on 20 July 2019.
“We worked for it, and it feels like a very great achievement,” said anchor leg runner Richardson. “I’m happy for me and my team doing it together; we’re all fast and together we got to a world record.”
Men’s world indoor triple jump record
18.07m Hugues Fabrice Zango (BUR) Aubiere 16 January 2021
Men’s world indoor shot put record
22.82m Ryan Crouser (USA) Fayetteville 24 January 2021
Men’s world U20 200m record
19.84 Erriyon Knighton (USA) Eugene 27 June 2021
Men’s world U20 110m hurdles records
12.93 Sasha Zhoya (FRA) Nairobi 20 August 2021
12.72 Sasha Zhoya (FRA) Nairobi 21 August 2021
Women’s world U20 4x100m record
42.94 Jamaica (Serena Cole, Tina Clayton, Kerrica Hill, Tia Clayton) Nairobi 22 August 2021
Men’s world U20 4x100m record
38.51 South Africa (Mihali Xhotyeni, Sinesipho Dambile, Letlhogonolo Moleyane, Benjamin Richardson) Nairobi 22 August 2021