Jeremiah Azu lived up to his billing as the continent’s fastest teenager by cruising into Friday’s 100m final at the European Athletics Under-20 Championships in Sweden.
The Cardiff Athletics sprinter is the fastest qualifier for the 100m final, which takes place just before 7.20 tomorrow evening.
Azu eased to victory in heat five on Thursday in a time of 10.56, which was the fastest of the first qualifying round.
Afterwards the 18-year-old said: “It’s my first major championships, and it feels good. I didn’t want to push too hard because I still have more races to go.
“The other runners are strong, meaning added pressure but that’s what I like.
“It was a good run and I just had to make sure I qualified. I pushed out quite hard and then let go at 50m. I was watching the big screen and saw that I was quite a way ahead and so I eased.
“Coming into it as the fastest gives you the blue bib and it adds more pressure to me, but I thrive off pressure and I’ll do what I know I can do. I feel like having the blue bib puts more fear into other people and doesn’t affect me at all.
“To me, I see it as running against myself and I’m not bothered about what anyone else does.”
After a few hours rest, Azu returned to the Boras track and produced an even more comprehensive performance in the semi-final.
The youngster blew the field away with a sizzling 10.37 – just a 10th of a second outside his personal best of 10.27.
Azu was well clear of Arnau Monne of Spain, who produced a personal best of 10.45 and Germany’s Nick Kocevar in 10.52.
The Welshman’s time was 0.15 seconds faster than any of the other seven qualifiers for the final, where he will be joined by fellow Brit Chad Miller.
Azu said after the semi-final: “I just get out fast from the start, pushed up to the last 60 metres, looked at the screen, let go and got the job done.
“Now I’m focusing on the final and doing what I have to do next. I’m going to the hotel go get some rest and will be back tomorrow.”
Also competing on Friday will be Pembrokeshire’s James Tomlinson, the Great Britain joint team captain, who will be taking part in the qualifying rounds of the discus during the morning session.
During the same session, Newport Harrier Remi Adebiyi, will be running in the first round of the 3,000m steeplechase.