Mo Farah en route to his second consecutive European 5000m title (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Helsinki, Finland

Farah retains 5000m title in Helsinki - European champs, Day 1

The only final of the evening session and the first of the championships, the men's 5000m, was a command performance for 2012 world leader and defending champion, Mo Farah of Great Britain, who left it until the last 300m to show his class, crossing the line in 13:29.81.

Silver went to Germany’s Arne Gabius and bronze to Polat Kemboi Arikan of Turkey. It was the fastest winning time since Salvatore Antibo’s 13:22 in 1990 and the first successful defence of the 5000m in the history of the championships.

Busy day in qualifying - men's events

The fastest of the 100m semi-finalists was Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure (10.13) with Christophe Lemaitre of France winning his semi in 10.14. Winner of the third semi, Jimmy Vicaut of France (10.22), and Rytis Sakalauskas of Lithuania (10.23) look as though they will be fighting for bronze.

Ireland’s Brian Gregan tops the 400m with 45.63. Medal favourites, Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslak and Yannick Fonsat of France, went through without difficulty. After the initial disqualification of no fewer than seven athletes, including Britain’s Richard Buck, the Briton alone was reinstated.

It is an oddity that Yuriy Borzakovskiy has never competed at the European championships over 800m, only the 400m, and he won his heat as though he still did not want to run two laps. Loping along in his usual spot at the back of the field he only opened up over the second quarter mile to win with ease.

Britain’s Gareth Warburton set the fastest ever heat time in the history of the championships, 1:45.80, while the much-fancied Robert Lathouwers of Holland and Søren Ludolph of Germany also qualified without problems.

Round one of the 400m hurdles saw Belgium’s Michael Bultheel fastest on 49.65, but heat winner Nathan Woodward of Great Britain looked comfortable, crossing the line in 50.02 while the silver and bronze medallist from the last two editions, Rhys Williams of Great Britain, was the most impressive finisher of the round, progressing from last at hurdle eight to winner in 50.40.

No one needed to go higher than 2.26m to qualify for the High Jump final with Raivydas Stanys of Lithuania and Sergey Mudrov of Russia both clearing that height. Second highest in the world, Robbie Grabarz of Great Britain, managed no higher than 2.23m but was safe in equal third.

In the Shot Put, former European indoor silver medallist from the Netherlands, Rutger Smith, went furthest with a season’s best 20.55m followed by World champion, David Storl of Germany, on 20.30m. The third longest put of the session belonged to Antonin Zalsky of the Czech Republic (19.94m).

The biggest roar of the evening came in the javelin when Finland’s Ari Mannio hurled the implement out to 84.31m and the crowd did that Finnish trademark helping-the-javelin-along thing with their vocal chords. As it turned out that was the only automatic qualifying throw of the evening with Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen (79.34m) going through to the final in ninth and world leader Vitazslav Veseley of the Czech Republic tenth (79.09m).

Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine led the Decathlon from 9 o’clock in the morning, closing the first day with a total of 4352 points. In silver is the favourite, Pascal Behrenbruch of Germany on 4291, while Serbia’s Mihail Dudas (4193) is in the bronze medal position.

Lurking in sixth is the former world record holder, the Czech Republic’s Roman Sebrle, who in the final discipline of the day ran his fastest 400m (49.87) for three years. The man just refuses to give up.

Lalova dashes 11.06 - Women's programme

After an impressive European season lead in the morning heats of 11.06 (+1.7w), Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova took the first semi-final in a slower 11.23 with nil wind, pursued by Olga Belkina of Russia (11.30) and Lina Grincikaite of Lithuania (11.34).

The second semi was won by the Ukraine’s Olesya Povh in a faster 11.13 but with a favourable wind right on the 2.0mps limit. Second was defending champion, Verena Sailer of Germany (11.17) and third was Anne Cibis, also Germany (11.36). Bislett Diamond League winner, Ezinne Okparaebo of Norway, squeezed through with a fastest loser slot.

Ilona Usovich of Belarus was fastest in the women’s 400m, recording 51.98, just ahead of France’s Muriel Hurtis in the last and fastest heat of the first round. Representing an under-strength Russia, Kseniya Zadorina was third fastest on the day with 52.18.

The 400m Hurdles saw all the medal favourites advance without mishap including Zuzana Hejnova (55.24) and Denisa Rosolova of the Czech Republic, Angela Morosanu of Romania and season leader, Irina Davydova of Russia. Barcelona silver medallist, Vania Stambolova of Bulgaria and second fastest in the world this year, withdrew earlier in the week.

All the high jump medal hopefuls found 1.90m proving sufficient to progress. Ruth Beitia of Spain, Irina Gordeyeva of Russia and Sweden’s Emma Green-Tregaro went through safely, while 2006 silver medallist, Venelina Veneva-Mateeva of Bulgaria, required three attempts at 1.90m to make sure of her place.

Karen Melis Mey of Turkey led the Long Jump with 6.66m, the same distance as France’s Éloyse Lesueur and Norway’s Margrethe Renstrøm. A 6.88m performer in 2012, Sosthene Taroum Moguenara of Germany, struggled on her first two efforts, but finally registered 6.62m to go through fourth overall. Defending champion, Ineta Radevica of Latvia, scraped through as the final qualifier in her group with a modest 6.44m.

Defending Triple Jump champion, Olga Saladuha of Ukraine, did not waste any time by bounding out to 14.77m in her first effort to occupy the favourite’s berth for Friday evening’s final. It is the longest ever legal best in the history of the championships.

The only other qualifier at the first time of asking was Portugal’s Patricia Mamona who went out to 14.41m. Double Olympic champion, Francoise Mbango of France, got it right in her final effort of 14.38m after two no-jumps. Season leader, Kseniya Dziatsuk of Belarus, qualified in eighth with a second-round 14.20m.

The javelin was headed by Ukraine’s Vera Rebryk who was the only competitor to go through by right in the first round (61.84m). Qualifying with her second throw was Briton Goldie Sayers (60.90m) while defending champion, Germany’s Linda Stahl, required all three attempts for 59.65m to go through to the final in third place. Only Rebryk and Sayers threw beyond the automatic qualifying distance of 60 metres.

Michael Butcher for the IAAF

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