Teenager Lin Ming-fu made history as the first Hong Kong long-jumper to qualify for the World Athletics U20 Championships field event finals in Colombia on Tuesday – and he is looking to smash the city’s record next month. The 18-year-old former sprinter – who only took up the event 10 months ago – made it to Cali with a wild card, where all of the world’s top juniors were vying for the title, including defending champion Erwan Konate of France. Despite suffering from jet lag after arriving two days before the meet, Lin placed eighth out of 24 athletes in Monday’s qualifiers, with a personal best of 7.54 metres on his second leap and 7.62m on his third. That secured his progression to the finals, where he jumped 7.36m, 7.57m, and 7.38m, putting him in ninth place – just one spot outside the top 8, who were given three more leaps. Frenchman Konate successfully defended his championship with a leap of 8.08m, while Cuban Alejandro A Parada and Brazilian Gabriel Luiz Boza finished second and third with jump of 7.91m and 7.90m, respectively. “Though getting into the finals was within my expectations, it is still rather dramatic,” said Lin. “To be honest, when the MC called us out on stage one by one, I was nervous on the one hand and exhilarated on the other, thinking everything was really dramatic, primarily because I only picked up long-jumping 10 months ago.” The 1.8-metres tall Lin’s aptitude for the long jump was spotted by a coach during a high school Division II sprint training session last September. “I started running when I was in primary five, and my 100m isn’t very competitive in Division II,” said Lin, who will start form six next month. “My personal best is roughly 11.6 seconds, which is nothing, so I started long-jumping in October.” At a Watson athletics meet last October, Lin jumped 6.81m as a novice, followed by a string of jumps over seven metres at his next five Hong Kong meets – including 7.49m at the HKAAA Athletics Series 2 in May, when he took off 20cm from the board, which earned him a wild card to Cali. “I know I could have jumped farther in the U20 Worlds, but I’m also delighted I made the finals,” he said. “It will boost my confidence a lot because it’s the first big race in my life.” Lin also took encouragement from being the only Asian in the finals, with two Japanese opponents eliminated in the qualifiers. His next goal is to break Chan Ming-tai’s Hong Kong U20 men’s long-jump record of 7.73m, set in 2014. “I will set my sights on breaking the Hong Kong U20 record this year or next year,” Lin said. “I know I’m capable of leaping beyond 7.7m under good conditions.” Lin will get his next chance to shine when the Hong Kong Junior Age Group Athletics Championships take place next month. Hong Kong Association of Athletic Affiliates vice-chairman Simon Yeung Sai-mo certainly sees big things in his future. “This is a historic moment in Hong Kong athletics, with the first athlete to compete in the field events final [of the Worlds],” Yeung said. “Lin impressed me with a humble attitude.” Elsewhere at the World U20 Championships, Rico Cheung Siu-hang created history by reaching the final of the 110m hurdles in 2021, where he finished seventh.