Strong, gusty wind, low temperature and torrential rain that stopped just an hour before the beginning of the fifth European Athletics Festival in Bydgoszcz had major affect on the lower than expected level of results.
Young Polish defeats Glover in 400m Hurdles
As announced earlier, the biggest star of the evening was Anna Olichwierczuk-Jesien, who struggled for victory in women 400m Hurdles with the reigning World silver medallist Sandra Glover of USA. Anna has been training with her husband Pawel and the national team’s coach Edward Bugala and managed to better her personal best already in her first run this season, by a massive half of a second (54.47).
This season Anna has changed tactics and is running the first half of the event slower. This can explain why the experienced American had a 2-metre lead before the finishing straight. But Anna’s strength allowed her not only to catch up with Glover but also to leave her behind by one and half of a metre. In addition to all this Anna also beat by 0.05 the record set by Genowefa Blaszak 20 years ago. Her result of 54.22 is the third in the World this year. Glover’s time was 54.53.
“It paid to change the tactics of my running. In my previous run in Biala Podlaska I began a bit too fast that’s why I had difficulties on the 6th and 7th hurdle. I had some reserves that I used today, yet I couldn’t believe my finish. The crowd helped me a lot. I want to see the replay of my run as fast as possible.”
Strong finish helps Plawgo win 400m Hurdles
A similarly hard-fought finish took place in the men’s event where Olympic finalist Marek Plawgo was trailing in 4th position on the last hurdle. He was nevertheless able to win with the help of the spectators. Two years ago Marek became the European U23 champion on the same track. His first result this season - 49.10 is the minimum for the World Championships in Helsinki.
Kemel Thompson (49.18) the best of three Jamaicans was second ahead Yevgeniy Meleshenko of Kazakhstan (49.21) and his compatriot Ian Weakley (49.30). Marek Plawgo bettered already this year the national record for 600 metres with the result of 1:16.03, which belonged to Pawel Czapiewski.
In the World Championships Plawgo will be aiming at running under 48 seconds, because he considers it will be necessary to win a medal in Helsinki.
World and Olympic champions defetaed in Shot Put
The reigning World Shot Put Champion Andrey Mikchnevich was beaten by Tomasz Majewski. The Belarusian had 4 throws above 20 metres, having his best result of 20.43, Majewski threw 20.54. Olympic champion Yuriy Bilonog has yet to resume his Olympic form and was only 3rd with 19.87m.
24-year-old Tomasz Majewski (204 cm, 138 kg) achieved his best outdoor result (indoor 20.83). “I think we’ve created a very good show. It’s a pity that also the putters had troubles with the wind. For me winning with great rivals is worth more than the result. I want to throw 21 metres as fast as possible.”
Too windy - no record for Rogowska
Anna Rogowska was unable to beat the Polish record for the 3rd time in her 3rd consecutive competition this season. After clearing 4.50, she was not able to sail over 4.70m as all her attempts where hampered by the wind. Her rivals also jumped contrary to expectations. Elena Belyakova of Russia was second.
Rogowska said she will do her best to beat 4.80 in her next competition, the Janusz Kusocinski Memorial in Warsaw on the 12th of June.
The three best throws in the hammer throw event belonged to World champion Ivan Tikhon of Belarus. With the result of 78.39m he defeated U23 European Champion from Bydgoszcz Hungarian Krisztan Pars (76.87) and Finland’s Oli-Pekka Karjalainen (76.37). The Olympic champion from Sydney Szymon Ziolkowski is still in bad shape, his 75.61 gave him the 4th place.
In the 800m Brazilian Osmar Barbosa dos Santos was the leader with 300m to go, but finally was beaten on the last straight by Grzegorz Krzosek of Poland (1:46.28). A tough struggle for third place gave the identical time of 1:47.15 to Miroslaw Formela of Poland and Kenyan Joseph Mutua.
The weather spoiled the men’s High Jump and Michal Bieniek who recently jumped 2.36m had to settle for 2.27m. Grzegorz Sposob who is getting back to shape after his injury jumped also 2.27m.
Block takes double sprint win
Zhanna Block of Ukraine had only one competition since the Olympic Games. In Bydgoszcz she was very impressive and won twice. In the 100m race her time of 11.33 was better than Chandra Sturrup’s (Bahamas) by only 0.01 of a second. In the 200m race she had a 3-metre advantage with 100m to go and won with the time of 22.98 in front of Poland’s Anna Pacholak-Guzowska (23.44).
The result of 12.92 by Kirsten Bolm in the 100m Hurdles race is worth more as it was with a 2.0 m/sec head wind. Andrea Bliss of Jamaica (13.07) was second with Poland’s Aurelia Trywianska (13.09) third.
The 3000m Steeplechase was a very exciting affair. Rafal Wojcik (Poland) led for 1800m but was overcame by two Kenyans Julius Nyamu and last year’s World Junior champion Ronald Kipchumba.
It was almost sure that one of them would win, but with 500 metres to go the 2001 European Junior champion Radoslaw Poplawski of Poland overtook them and won with the time of 8:17.87 beating Nyamui by only 0.05 second. Russia’s Andrey Olshansky (8:19.68) who bettered his personal best by 12 seconds was third.
Janusz Rozum for the IAAF