10 athletes under 20 to follow in 2020

Yaroslava Mahuchikh
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Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh cleared 1.92m to win the high jump title at the Boras 2019 European Athletics U20 Championships

With the 2020 season in its infancy, we have picked out 10 athletes under the age of 20 to follow in 2020. Some of them have already left her mark on the senior stage whereas others look poised to make an impact in the years ahead.  

Yaroslava Mahuchikh (Ukraine) - 18 years old

Setting two lifetime bests in the World Championships final was a novelty for the Ukrainian who - up until then - had a propensity of ending competitions after clearing a lifetime best but this break with tradition in Doha was richly rewarded as Mahuchikh went clear again at 2.04m to match Mariya Lasitskene’s winning height.

Mahuchikh added three centimetres to the long-standing world U20 record in the process and she has another season to put the record further out of the reach of any future pursuers. A more immediate goal could be to gain sole ownership of the world indoor U20 record which she holds jointly with Vashti Cunningham at 1.99m.

Personal best:
High jump 2.04m (1.99m indoors)

How to follow: Instagram

 

Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Norway) - 19 years old

Ingebrigtsen finished his U20 career with European U20 records across five events indoors and outdoors and this will be his first of three seasons in the U23 ranks. Jakob’s lifetime best in the 1500m of 3:30.16 also eclipsed the European U23 record and the 3000m (7:37.50) and 5000m (13:00.31) records are surely in his grasp as long as he stays healthy.

So close to individual medals in Doha, Ingebrigtsen will be keen to upgrade his fourth and fifth-place finishes from the World Championships on his Olympic debut in Tokyo before burnishing his medal haul at the European Championships in Paris. 

Personal bests:
1500m 3:30.16
Mile 3:51.30
5000m 13:02.03

How to follow: Instagram, Facebook

Sasha Zhoya (France) - 17 years old

Zhoya was born in Perth but the precocious teenager has committed to competing internationally for the country of his mother’s birth. Zhoya finished last year ranked inside the top-10 globally in a staggering five events at U18 level, revising the world U18 bests in the 110m hurdles - 12.87 over the 91.4cm barriers - and the pole vault with 5.56m during his record-breaking spree.

Personal bests:
100m 10.41
200m 20.91 (20.81w)
110m hurdles (91.4 centimetres) 12.87
Pole vault 5.56
U18 Decathlon 7271 points 

How to follow: Instagram

Myhaylo Kokhan (Ukraine) - 18 years old

Kokhan set the only championship record at the 2019 European U20 Championships in Boras, winning the hammer with 84.73m which also surpassed the European U20 record. Coached by his father, the Ukrainian seamlessly adjusted to throwing with the heavier implement at the World Championships in Doha where he became the youngest ever male athlete to reach a throwing event final at the age of 18. 

The last two Olympic hammer champions were both aged over 30 but Kokhan won’t be far away from medal contention in both Tokyo and Paris in his final year in the U20 ranks.

Personal bests:
Hammer (5kg) 87.82m
Hammer (6kg) 84.73m
Hammer 77.39m

How to follow: Instagram

Yasiel Sotero (Spain) - 18 years old

Sotero has already won European U18 and U20 titles in the discus and he hopes this will be the year in which he makes an impact not only globally at U20 level but also on the senior stage. 

“I have three main objectives: the World U20 Championship in Nairobi, Kenya, the European Championship in Paris and the great goal which is to try to beat the world U20 record which is 70.13m,” he said in a recent interview after improving his Spanish U20 record to 64.68m with the 1.75kg implement.

Personal bests:
Discus (1.5kg) 65.29m
Discus (1.75kg) 64.68m
Discus 59.23m

How to follow: Instagram

 

Tilde Johansson (Sweden) - 19 years old

Swedish athletics prospects are on the rise again and Johansson was one of the stars of the European U20 Championships, winning the 100m hurdles title in 13.16 and silver in the long jump the following morning with 6.52m. Johansson is planning to balance the two events again in her last season as a junior and the 19-year-old is also promising multi-eventer, winning the Swedish indoor pentathlon title at senior level last year. 

Personal bests:
100m hurdles 13.16
Long jump 6.73m
U18 heptathlon 5680 points

How to follow: Instagram, Facebook

Max Burgin (Great Britain) - 17 years old

Burgin has already gained admirers not just due to his undeniable talent but also for the way he races. An undaunted front runner, Burgin won the 2018 European U18 title in gun-to-tape fashion and he has employed the same tactics to break records, setting a British U20 record of 1:45.36 in Bedford last summer in a contest devoid of pacemakers.

An untimely injury forced Burgin to miss the 2019 European U20 Championships but he is eligible for the 2021 edition in Tallinn. In the meantime he could threaten the Kenyan hegemony in the 800m on their home patch at the 2020 World U20 Championships in Nairobi.

Personal bests:
800m 1:45.36
1500m 3:47.70

How to follow: Instagram, Twitter

Salma Celeste Paralluelo (Spain) - 16 years old

Three months after lifting the trophy at the U17 Women’s Soccer World Cup in Uruguay, Salma Celeste Paralluelo was wearing the Spanish uniform again but this time at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow where she contested the 400m at the age of 15. She also competed in the 4x400m at the European Team Championships in Bydgoszcz where she ran a sparkling anchor leg of 52.45.

Paralluelo’s immense sporting talents extend to the 400m hurdles and she finished the season as the world U18 leader in the event with 57.43 - a time which was set in only her third race at the event. Does a gold medal beckon at the European U18 Championships in Rieti, Italy this July? 

Personal bests:
400m 54.04 (53.83 indoors)
400m hurdles 57.43

How to follow: Instagram

Holly Mills (Great Britain) - 19 years old

Mills has been a mainstay on the British team since winning the long jump title at the 2016 European U18 Championships but the Brit has aspirations of leaving her mark on the multi-events. In just her first summer at the event, Mills finished fourth in a very high calibre heptathlon at the European U20 Championships and she began her 2020 season on a promising note by winning the English pentathlon title with a lifetime best score.

Personal bests:
100m hurdles 13.45
Long jump 6.51m
Heptathlon 5802 points
Pentathlon 4261 points

How to follow: Instagram, Twitter

N’Ketia Seedo (The Netherlands) - 16 years old 

Comparisons with Dafne Schippers might be difficult to resist as Seedo also lives in Utrecht and is also coached by Juul Acton who guided Schippers during her formative years in the sport. Only 15 at the time, Seedo sped to a national U20 60m record of 7.27 at the Dutch Indoor Championships last year and she only missed out on the European U20 100m title by 0.003 in Boras where she was competing against athletes more than three years her senior. Seedo is eligible for the European U18 Championships in Rieti this summer and remains a junior all the way through until 2023.   

Personal bests:
60m 7.27
100m 11.37
200m 23.93

How to follow: Instagram