David Storl of Germany celebrates winning the Men's Shot Put at the 2008 World Junior Champs (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Storl the star as more championship records fall - Euro Jnr Champs, Day 3

Novi Sad, SerbiaGerman shot putter David Storl was the star performer on the third day (25) of the 20th European Athletics Junior Championships with a new championships record of 22.40m.

It's a distance that only Storl, the 2008 IAAF World Junior Championships gold medallist who has already revised the World Junior Record* three times this summer, has ever beaten with the 6kg shot.

Storl stamps his authority quickly

He unleashed his big throw in the first round and nobody else could get near him. He also threw 22.07m in the second round and 21.32m in the fourth, his only other valid attempts, which would have also sufficed to win the gold by more than a metre.

“My coach told me that I should go for a big one straight away. The truth is I was very excited before the competition and shocked myself that it went out so far. Perhaps you need that sort of excitement to provide those big throws but after the first round I was still a little nervous but I think the other throwers were shocked as well,” said Storl.

“If there was someone who had the ability to challenge me I'm not sure how well I would have responded, I was in such a state after the first round. I think I would have been in trouble but ultimately my throws proved to be good enough,” added Storl modestly, who will soon leave school and join the German police's sponsored sports programme.

More than two metres behind, Ukraine's Mykyta Nesterenko produced 20.22m in the third round, itself a first class performance were it not for being completely overshadowed by Storl's feat, which got him a silver medal to add to the Discus gold he won on Friday.

The German national anthem was played twice more during the day as Andreas Hofmann comfortably won the men's Javelin with 75.89m, winning by more than two metres and having the best four throws of the competition.

Martina Schultze took the women's Pole Vault as the only athlete to go over 4.20m, adding to the family medal collection as her sister Anna took the silver at the 2004 IAAF World Junior Championships.

Guliyev bounces back

A lot of attention had been focussed on how Azerbaijani sprinter Ramil Guliyev might respond in the 200m after his emphatic defeat over in the 100m by France's flying Christophe Lemaître, who set a European junior record of 10.04.

However, Guliyev answered all the questions with only the slightest of hesitation - he was guilty of a false start in the final – and producing a blistering display of sprinting to win in a championship record 20.33.

The European Junior Record holder at 20.04, which he set recently when winning at the World University Games, had a huge lead coming off the bend and might have been even closer to the 20-second barrier had he not thrown his arms out and started celebrating 10 metres from the line.

Guliyev improved on the 26-year-old record of 20.37 which had been in the name of East Germany's Jurgen Evers since 1983. Germany's Robert Hering finished second in 20.83, exactly half-a-second behind Guliyev, a huge margin over this distance.

Azerbaijan - who had never won a single medal in the history of the European Athletics Junior Championships before arriving in Serbia's second city - then had further success to celebrate later in the day when Hayle Ibrahimov notched up his country's third gold in Novi Sad. He also became the first athlete to have two gold medals hung around his neck at these championships, winning the 5000m in 14:01.19 to add to the 10,000m title he had won on Thursday.

The Ethiopian-born Ibrahimov lead almost from the gun but started to increase the pace from 3000m and soon his rivals were quickly eliminated apart from the Czech Republic's eventual silver medallist Jakub Zivec, who maintained contact until just under three laps to go. A second surge from Ibrahimov, just before the 4000m mark, then saw him shake off the brave Zivec.

Grøvdal defends title

Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal made a further addition to Norway's gold reserves when she defended the 3000m Steeplechase title she won two years ago in Hengelo, when she was 17, and improved on her own championships record with a spirited run of 9:43.69.

She finished 70m clear of her nearest rival after laying down the gauntlet from the gun although Azerbaijan's Layes Abdullayeva gamely gave chase for the first two laps.

Grøvdal pushed the pace from the start and audaciously passed 1000m in 3:10.61. There were hopes that she might attack her own European junior record of 9:33.19, but the runner from Molde slowed during the second kilometre and reached 2000m in 6:25.91.

Nevertheless, behind her the rest of the field was slowing even further and, going into the final two laps, her lead over eventual silver medallist Abdullayeva was 50m. Grøvdal will now go for an unprecedented double as she is entered for Sunday's 5000m, which will be run as a straight final.

Three more golds for Russia

Many of Russia's top women middle and long distance runners made their first international impression at these championship and Yelena Korobkina looks like a name that will become even better known in the future.

In the women's 3000m, one of the most entertaining races of the day, Korobkina unleashed a stunning sprint down the home straight to overhaul Great Britain's Kate Avery just 15m from the line and win the gold medal in a personal best of 9:13.35.

The race was conducted at such a high tempo that the first four women home all set personal bests, despite the temperatures being in the mid-20s and championship distance events often being tactical affairs.

Great Britain's Beth Potter and Azerbaijan's Gezashign Safarova swapped the lead for most of the race and kept pushing the pace until Avery, who took the silver, bravely made a long run for home with 500m to go.

She held an advantage of two metres at the bell and extended it further over the next 300m but ran out of steam down the home straight and was caught by an inspired Korobkina, who was 10m behind coming off the final bend but later admitted she sensed Avery was flagging badly, and edged in front as the line loomed up.

Russia took the first gold medal of the day when 2008 IAAF World Junior Championships gold medallist Stanislav Yemelyanov fulfilled his role as favourite in the men's 10,000m Walk and lead home a Russian clean sweep in 40:20.86.

Further gold came Russia's way when Sergey Mudrov cleared 2.25m at his first attempt to come from behind and clinch the men's High Jump title. Turkey's Umit Tan had been in the lead after flawless jumping up until that point, twice improving his own national junior record, but had to settle for the silver, also at 2.25m.

Another enthralling contest came when Romania's diminutive Mirela Lavric, like Grøvdal, defended the European junior title she won two years ago, winning the women's 800m in 2:04.12.

The maturity and experience of Lavric, who is also the reigning World junior champion and still has another year in the junior ranks, was apparent throughout the race as she covered every move made by her opponents before proving herself to have a better turn of speed over the final 100m.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF

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* pending the usual ratification procedures