The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
Ten golds were at stake on a rain-soaked day four (30 June) of the 21st European Championships which saw Olympic quality men’s Discus and Hammer throwing while 35-year-old Fabrizio Donato equalled the second best Triple Jump of 2012 in atrocious conditions.
Krisztian Pars won Hammer bronze in Barcelona two years ago, silver in the Daegu World championships and here in a line-up worthy of an Olympic final finally clinched gold. In fact, more than clinch, he annexed it with the five best throws of the competition, his best effort of 79.72 coming in the fourth round.
Feathers were ruffled in the final round when Poland’s 2000 Olympic champion, Szymon Ziolkowski, slipped into silver (76.67) occupied since the second round by Aleksey Zagorniy. But the Russian countered with 77.40 to regain second spot.
Ziolkowski at least had the consolation of coming up with the best quote of the day: "I’m too old for weather like this. I’m off for a hot bath."
Double World champion, Robert Harting, versus the Olympic champion, Gerd Kanter, made for a mouth-watering Discus and so it proved, paradoxically, given the appalling conditions. But as in Daegu last year, the outcome was the same with the German coming out on top with 68.30 against the Estonian’s 66.53 for Kanter’s second European silver. It was Harting’s first European title after taking silver in 2010. Bronze was won by Hungary’s Zoltan Kövagö, just 11cm down on silver.
As in the women’s Triple Jump the day before, it was the first round that decided it with Donato of Italy, at the age of 35, bounding down a rain-soaked runway to hit the sand at 17.63 scooted along with a 2.8 following wind. On his second attempt the Italian equalled the European lead of 17.53, this time with a legal wind. So Donato finally won an outdoor title to add to European gold and silver indoors. Ukraine’s Sheryf El-Sheryf – European U23 champion with 17.72m in 2011 - won silver with his opening salvo of 17.28m while bronze went to Aliaksi Tsapik (16.97) of Belarus.
Martina and Arikan triumph on the track
Churandy Martina, born in Curaçao and representing the Dutch Antilles until last year, took the 200m as he pleased in 20.42. Worried about the tight bend from lane three, he did not start his serious effort until the straight, but eventually won by a good five metres. The Netherlands also took silver with Patrick van Luijk, while Briton Daniel Talbot was rewarded for his tenacity with a surprise bronze, holding off the more fancied medallist from Belgium, Jonathan Borlée. After an absence of 74 years when Tinus Osendarp won, the Netherlands once again celebrated European 200m gold.
Polat Kemboi Arikan of Turkey won the 10,000m in a time of 28:22.27 to add gold to the 5000m bronze he had won four days earlier. Italy's Daniele Meucci, fifth in the 5000m final, and 11 seconds clear at the top of the 2012 European rankings thanks to his recent personal best of 27:32.86, secured silver as he chased Arikan home in 28:22.73, and Yvegeniy Rybakov of Russia secured bronze with a season's best of 28:22.95.
Yanit defends in the sprint hurdles - Women's events
It was a surprise in 2010 when Nevin Yanit struck 100m Hurdles gold, but less so this time round as the pugnacious ENKA Istanbul athlete gave a faultless display to cross the line first in 12.81 into a 1.8mps headwind. Alina Talay of Belarus matched her hurdle for hurdle until the ninth flight when Yanit finally got away and it was a clear lead on the line of 0.10 with Belarus also snatching bronze, Ekaterina Poplavskaya lunging for the line ahead of Austria’s Beate Schrott by 0.01.
France’s Ida Antoinette Nana Djimou won the Heptathlon with a career best 6554, an improvement of 145 points. She set three personal bests in the hurdles (13.11), Long Jump (6.42m) and the javelin (55.82m). Silver went to Ukraine’s Lyudmila Yosipenko (6387) while bronze was won by Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece (6335 PB).
"It’s nice to hang a medal round your neck," said Nana Djimou, "but to get one in London would be nicer. It is good for me to be able to prove I can do something in a big championships. The other girls now fear me more and I have more confidence in myself. I can add another 200 points to that. I lost a lot of points in the shot."
The 200m resulted in a Ukrainian double that was close to a clean-sweep as Mariya Ryemyen won gold (23.05, -1.3w) ahead of Hrystyna Stuy with defending champion, France’s Myriam Soumaré taking bronze, just 0.04 ahead of third Ukrainian, Viktoriya Pyatachenko.
As expected, the fastest woman in the race, Gülcan Mingir of Turkey, took the Steeplechase gold after just edging the Ukraine’s Svitlana Shmidt by 0.07 for a time of 9:32.96. Returning to top-flight competition after 18 months out of the sport because of serious illness, Germany’s Antje Möldner Schmidt sprinted past compatriot, Gesa Krause, in the finishing straight for bronze.
27th in 2006, fifth in 2010, Jirina Ptacnikova propelled herself to Pole Vault gold this time round with a vault of 4.60m, the same height as silver and bronze medallists, Martina Strutz of Germany (silver in Daegu last year) and Nikolia Kiriakopoulou of Greece, with the Czech winning on count-back.
Competition concludes this afternoon at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium.