Monte-Carlo – With less than four weeks to go to the 10th IAAF World Junior Championships in Grosseto, Italy, a record number of 179 National Federations have already showed interest in taking part in the competition.

According to the IAAF Preliminary Entry lists, a total of 1689 athletes (910 men and 779 women) have been entered to take part in the world’s most important competition for juniors: athletes born in 1985, 1986, 1987 or 1988.

The deadline for final entries is 29 June 2004.

Previously, the largest edition in terms of participation had been that of Annecy 1998, a championship which revealed among others France’s 200m specialist Muriel Hurtis, who has since won two European Indoor and one European outdoor titles, and most importantly last summer’s World Championships gold medal as a member of France’s 4x100m relay team.

The IAAF World Junior Championships are famously known for being the perfect springboard for young athletes on their way to senior glory, and the Grosseto edition will no doubt confirm the rule.
Two years ago in Kingston, two athletes particularly shone and are now familiar faces of the World Athletics Family.

Carolina Klüft, subsequently a World and European Heptathlon champion, delighted the Jamaican crowd with a superb World Junior record winning performance in the Heptathlon.

However, the loudest roar from the 30,000 spectators gathered in the stadium was for their national hero Usain Bolt who won the 200m final in 20.61, and thus became the youngest ever World Junior champion.

Following his extraordinary 19.93 World Junior record earlier this summer, Bolt, now 18 years of age, is still eligible to compete in the Junior ranks and will most likely be one of the super stars of the Grosseto World Championships. Conditions permitting, there might be other World records in the air.

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