13 hot prospects for 2013 (part 1/2)

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

It might take a few years before the Liverpool Harrier can think about challenging Jessica Ennis but the Olympic heptathlon champion went on record to say Johnson-Thompson can one day surpass her exploits after she set a UK junior record of 6248. She then improved that mark to 6267 at the Olympics, setting four PBs en route to a fifteenth-place finish. As seems to be the recurring theme with British multi-eventers, Johnson-Thompson’s throws are still a work in progress but her jumps are already close to world-class standard.

Jacko Gill

The year hasn’t started auspiciously for the 18-year-old New Zealander. He sprained his foot in a competition last month before being hospitalised with facial injuries after a freak accident. Let’s hope they won’t set him back too much as he aims for his first senior championships in Moscow. Medals aren’t a reasonable aspiration for now but his PB and world youth record of 20.38m with the senior implement should suffice for a berth in the final. This would be a stellar achievement for the teenager who doesn’t turn 20 until after the 2014 Commonwealth Games which is another event on his agenda.

Sergey Morgunov

The Russian smashed the 40-year-old world junior record last summer with 8.35m which surprisingly remained the joint world-leading distance alongside Olympic champion Greg Rutherford’s early-season mark. Even Rutherford has admitted the global standards of men’s long jumping aren’t laudable so look for Morgunov to mount an assault on major honours in Moscow if he reproduces his 8.30m-plus form.

Kevin Mayer

Since winning the world youth multi-events title in 2009, the Frenchman has continued to go from strength to strength. He followed this up with the world junior title in 2010 and the European junior title in 2011 by almost 300-points. While Mayer didn’t display his best form in the major events this year, he still finished ranked inside the world’s top-10 at the age of 20 with 8447. Progression doesn’t always follow a linear pattern but a bronze medal in Moscow behind Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee is a realistic projection.

Adam Gemili

The career trajectory of Mark-Lewis Francis serves as a cautionary tale to those hanging global medals around his neck but the world junior 100m champion is still a very exciting prospect. The 19-year-old displayed the maturity of a seasoned veteran on his Olympic debut by producing his second fastest ever time of 10.06 in the semi-finals and unlike some of his injury-ridden contemporaries, Gemili has the physical attributes of a world-class sprinter. Having previously divided his energies between athletics and football, what can he achieve in 2013 with a fully-focused approach to the sport?

Thiago Da Silva

The Brazilian’s victory in a pulsating climax at the World Junior Championships will have elevated his profile in his homeland and the youngster couldn’t be in better hands as he prepares for the awesome baptism of his first Olympics on home-soil in 2016. This is because the 19-year-old is advised by the venerable Vitaliy Petrov, who masterminded the illustrious careers of Sergey Bubka and Yelena Isinbayeva as well as guiding compatriot Fabiana Murer to the world title in Daegu in 2011.

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