Erfurt, GermanyRussia ended the weekend of the European U23 Championships yesterday with the biggest medal haul, with fifteen gold medals and 31 medals overall. The host Germans were not far behind in total medals with 26, but only four of them were gold.
Two of the most prominent athletes won gold medals in their respective events, but they found strikingly different routes to their success.
Klüft successful defence with 6.79m
Olympic Heptathlon champion Carolina Klüft successfully defended her U23 title in the women’s Long Jump with a season-best 6.79 effort. The Swede put together a consistent series of five legal jumps, all over 6.60, and was without a challenger throughout the competition. Yuliya Zinoyeva of Russia and Romania’s Adina Anton won the other two medals with 6.58 and 6.55.
Not such an easy journey for Baba
Bába, on the other hand, had less than a textbook journey to his gold medal in the men’s High Jump. The Olympic bronze medallist needed second attempts at his opening 2.18, as well as at 2.25 and at 2.27. At the ultimately deciding height of 2.29, it was only a third-attempt clearance which kept the gold medal from going to Artyom Zaytsev of Belarus. Zaytsev won the silver at 2.27 on a countback with Yuriy Krimarenko, who took bronze.
New Estonian hurdler emerges
Early in the day, the women’s 100 Hurdles produced a surprise winner, so surprising, in fact, that the photo-finish reader seemed to assume that only a Russian could have run so fast. Within seconds, however, the correction was made and Mirjam Liimask of Estonia could enjoy the euphoria which comes with a European U23 title, as her PB 12.93 was almost 0.3 under her previous best. It was also an Estonian national record.
Closing fast on Liimask at the end was Germany’s Tina Klein, who took silver in 12.97, also a PB. “Queen for a moment”, Anna Yevdokimova of Russia, did still end up with a bronze in a PB 13.12.
After her powerful qualifying performance on Friday, Yelena Yakovleva was the heavy favourite in the women’s 200 metres. The Russian sailed around the broad curve in lane six at full power and streaked home in a PB 22.99, leaving Nikolett Listár of Hungary and Italy’s Vincenza Calì to take the other medals, respectively in a PB 23.19 and 23.31.
David Alerte of France first lost the lead on the final straight of the men’s 200 metres but then recovered to win that event in a PB 20.47, leaving Germany’s Sebastian Ernst with the silver in 20.58. Kaba Fantoni of Italy was the bronze winner in 20.71.
Although Arturo Casado’s winning time of 3:47.02 in the men’s 1500 metres was not stunning, the race was an impressive display of front-running. Several times, other runners attempted to take the lead away from the Spaniard, but each time Casado notched up the gait enough to keep them at bay. With 150 to go, he sped home for an easy win, as Stefan Eberhardt of Germany - running on his home track in Erfurt - sped past another Spaniard, Francisco España, for the silver with 3:48.09. España’s bronze time was 3:48.16.
Championships throwing marks bettered
Championships records came from Yekaterina Khoroshikh of Russia in the Women’s Hammer Throw with 71.51, as well as from Germany’s Sabine Rumpf with 60.75 in the Women’s Discus. Later in the day came yet another championships record as Anton Lyuboslavskiy of Russia threw 20.44 for the Gold in the Men’s Shot Put.
Turkish ‘wait and see’ 5000m win
Binnaz Uslu of Turkey won the second straight women’s 5000 metres crown for that country, as current world-record holder Elvan Abeylegesse took the title two years ago in Bydgoszcz. Uslu’s time of 15:57.21 was the result of the usual wait-and-kick strategy, while Tatyana Petrova of Russia, showing some fatigue after her win yesterday in the Women’s 10,000 metres, won the silver in 16:01.79.
The women’s 800 metres should have been a much easier win for Yevginiya Zolotova than it was. The Russian broke away from the pack with 200 metres left, but she was hard pressed to salvage the gold medal as Jemma Simpson of Great Britain, back in fifth place in the final straight, ran wide and almost overhauled Zolotova before the finish.
The Russian clocked 2:06.00 to win, as Simpson’s 2:06.16 was good for the silver, followed by Elodie Guegan of France in 2:06.29 for the bronze.
It was not expected that the women’s Pole Vault would remain at the level to which Yelena Isinbayeva took it two years ago in her win. This year the Gold went to Nataliya Kushch of Ukraine on a countback at 4.30 with Germany’s Floé Kühnert.
Vladislav Shkurlatov of Russia was the leading qualifier in the Men’s Javelin with 81.14 and also had the season’s best mark, but that was all for naught as the Russian meekly threw only 76.12 to end up medalless in today’s final won by Igor Janik of Poland at 77.25. Antti Ruuskanen of Finland moved up to the silver with a late-round 76.82, and Sweden’s Magnus Arvisson managed to slip past Shkurlatov with 76.15 for the bronze.
The Men’s Triple Jump saw the pair of Russian Aleksandrs - Sergeyev and Petrenko - finish one-two with PB jumps of 17.11 and 17.03, respectively. For Petrenko, it was his first jump over seventeen metres.
And in the final individual running event of the weekend, Anatoliy Rybakov of Russia did as expected in complementing his twin brother’s gold medal in the Men’s 10,000m with one of his own in the 5000m. The Russian’s winning time was 14:06.69, as the silver was won in a last-ditch sprint effort by Mohammed Farah of Great Britain in 14:10.96, as Aleksey Aleksandrov of Russia fell short in his goal with 14:11.10.
Ed Gordon for the IAAF
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