Tzengko, 17, breaks world U20 javelin record in Ioannina

Elina Tzengko
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Elina Tzengko celebrates her gold medal at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires 

Only 17, Elina Tzengko broke the world U20 javelin record on the first day of the Greek U20 Championships in Ioannina on Saturday (1) and she still has one full season left in the junior ranks.

Tzengko broke the 60 metre-barrier with the senior weight implement in her first competition of the season with 61.53m but the teenager added almost two-and-a-half metres to her lifetime best yesterday.

Her best throw pierced the turf at 63.96m which surpassed both the European U20 record held by Vira Rebryk at 63.01m and the world U20 record of 63.86m set by Cuba’s Yulenmis Aguilar at the 2015 Pan American U20 Championships.

Tzengko hasn’t always excelled in the major age-group championships but the Greek has the chance to challenge for titles at both the European Athletics U20 Championships in Tallinn from 15-18 July and the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi which have been rescheduled for 17-22 August 2021.

Performances set this summer are not recognised as Olympic qualifying standards but Tzengko’s mark was only four centimetres shy of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifying mark of 64.00m.

European U20 triple jump champion Spiridoula Karidi achieved a remarkable double at the Greek U20 Championships.

Karidi won the triple jump title with 13.67m into a 2.2 m/s headwind before winning the long jump the following day with a national U20 record of 6.71m. Her previous lifetime best stood at 6.46m and Karidi also surpassed Niki Xanthou's long-standing Greek U20 record of 6.60m. 

Another medallist at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Boras last July, Olga Fiaska also broke another long-standing national U20 record. The silver medallist in the 10,000m race walk in Boras clocked 46:21.46 to improve the record of 46:29.20 held by 2004 Olympic 20km race walk champion Athanasia Tsoumeleka.