Australia — we may just have found our next sprint superstar.
Aussie 200m star Calab Law claimed bronze at the under-20 World Athletics Championship in Cali Colombia, clocking a time of 20.48 in the final and landing on the podium.
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It was a hot final as Israel’s Blessing Akawasi Afrifah claimed gold ahead of Botswana’s Lesile Tebogo, who both recorded times of 19.96 seconds, making them the third fastest under-20 200m sprinters in history. Afrifah claimed the gold by 0.006 seconds in the photo finish time but both were awarded the championship record time.
The time was only 0.03 seconds slower than 200m world record holder Usain Bolt’s fastest under-20 time of 19.93 seconds and 18-year-old World Championship silver medallist Erriyon Knighton’s time of 19.49 seconds as the fastest under-20 200m time ever.
Tebogo had claimed the under-20 100m world record earlier in the meet, running 9.91 in the final to break his own record.
Although well outside the world record time, Law claimed the bronze, bouncing back from a slow star to land on the podium.
Law had set a personal best time of 20.42 in the semi-finals, the second fastest under-20 200m time in Australian history, behind only Aiden Murphy’s 20.41 set at the South Australian State Championships in February.
The 200m has traditionally not been a strong suit for Australia
Athletics historian David Tarbotton revealing it was just the fifth international 200m medal Australia had won, and second in the World U20s after Steve McBain’s bronze in 1986.
Murphy did make the semi-finals in Cali as well, but had the 11th fastest time and missed the final, despite coming into the event as a strong medal hope.
But Law brought home the bronze in a brilliant performance to solidify his reputation as one of Australia’s great sprinting prospects.
“I was so tempted to look over my shoulder because I didn’t really feel anybody up next to me. I knew the two boys were up in front, but I was not sure at all – I had to wait to see my name up there,” Law told Athletics Australia.
“The medal for me is like another step, it’s the next level. When I get into my Open season I will be better than ever.”
At just 18-years-old, Law is bound to get faster, which could be perfect timing for the Victorian Commonwealth Games in 2026.
A proud Indigenous man from the Wakka Wakka tribe in North Queensland, Law said he was inspired by those who came before him.
“My favourite sprinter ever is Cathy Freeman. She was the best – so smooth, so relaxed, so long. I always try to replicate the way that she runs but she is too perfect,” Law said.
“My aunty was an amazing sprinter, Aunty Karla, she coached me when I was 12. They are all indigenous Wakka Wakka, my tribe is from North Queensland and they would all be really happy – they were watching me on the big screen.”
Last month, Law raced at the World Championships, making the semi-finals but finishing as the 21st fastest.