Morgan Lake, winner of the high jump at the European Junior Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Eskilstuna, Sweden

Britain emphatically tops medal table at European Junior Championships

For the second successive edition, the British team topped the medal table at the European Junior Championships in the Swedish city of Eskilstuna, which came to a conclusion on Sunday (19).

Despite winning two fewer medals overall this time around, the Brits garnered 11 gold medals over the four days of competition to match their best ever tally from the 1991 edition.

World junior high jump and heptathlon champion Morgan Lake focused solely on the individual event this time around and the 18-year-old delivered one of six gold medals for the Brits on the final day of competition.

Lake showed her competitive mettle in qualifying with a third-time clearance at her starting height of 1.79m. The final also didn’t go completely to script with the combined-eventer needing three attempts at 1.86m but Lake soon recaptured her form and won her secondary event by two clear heights.

After a first-time clearance at 1.89m, Lake cleared 1.91m on her second attempt before three unsuccessful tries at a would-be UK junior record of 1.95m which would have also tied the championship record.

Lake still has one more season left in the junior ranks but in the meantime, she is hoping to gain selection for the heptathlon at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing next month.

Adam Hague led the world junior pole vault list with a 5.60m clearance and the 17-year-old recovered from a mid-season dip in form to become the first British winner of this title.

Hague, who is also eligible for next year’s IAAF World Junior Championships in Kazan, cleared five heights up to 5.50m on his first attempt to seal the gold medal by 15 centimetres.

Luckenkemper propelled to super-fast 200m win

Gina Luckenkemper narrowly beat Shannon Hylton in Mannheim last month in 23.04 and while that form played out in the final, the German ran out the winner by more than three-tenths on this occasion.

Assisted with a 2.6m/s tailwind, the 18-year-old stopped the clock at a terrific 22.41 to Hylton’s 22.73. In legal wind conditions, Luckenkemper would have undoubtedly smashed Barbel Eckert’s championship record of 22.85 set back in 1973.

The Germans were wholly tipped in the sprint relay but their quartet came a cropper on the second handover between Luckenkemper and Lisa Meyer. Britain duly took advantage and won by more than a second in 44.18.

Azerbaijan’s Nazmin Babayev was fortunate with the wind in the triple jump final as he broke another long-standing record on the final day of competition in Eskilstuna.

Volker Mai’s championship record of 16.93m had stood since 1985 but taking advantage of the glorious conditions, the 17-year-old sailed out to a wind-legal 17.04m in the second round to move up to sixth on the European junior all-time list.

Not only did Babayev break the 17-metre mark for the first time, the Azeri also sealed qualification for the World Championships in Beijing and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year.

After winning bronze in the triple jump, Romania’s Florentina Marincu claimed the title in the long jump which is quickly becoming her best event. The 19-year-old recorded a wind-assisted 6.78m in the second round to win by more than 20 centimetres.

Dereli retains shot put title

Emel Dereli capped her illustrious junior career by retaining her shot put title in Eskilstuna. All five of the Turk’s valid throws would have sufficed for the title and the 19-year-old’s winning throw of 18.40m would have even won the European under-23 title last week by nearly one metre.

Not only did she reclaim the world junior leading mark, Dereli also added some 36 centimetres to her own senior Turkish record set two years ago in Rieti. On this form, the 19-year-old looks set to challenge for a place in the final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

After winning the discus, Germany’s Claudine Vita collected silver in the shot put with a PB of 17.13m.

Two other reigning champions had to cede their grip on their titles on the third day of competition. Perennial front-runner Anita Hinriksdottir faded back to third in the 800m won by Renee Eykens from Belgium in 2:02.83 while Switzerland’s Angelica Moser won the pole vault with a 4.35m clearance ahead of Alyona Lutkovskaya from Russia in a competition affected by the strong winds.

The throwing events provided a lot of the highlights in Eskilstuna. In the 1.75kg discus, Poland’s Bartlomiej Stoj set a championship record of 68.02m while Matija Muhar from Slovenia won the javelin with a world junior leading mark of 79.20m.

The Czechs might have a new combined-events star in Jan Dolezal, who overturned an overnight deficit to win the decathlon with 7929 points ahead of the indefatigable Karsten Warholm, who was one of the unsung heroes of the championships.

The timetable was far from accommodating but the Norwegian still attempted an unlikely 400m/decathlon double. The 19-year-old came away with silver medals from both disciplines, as well as a PB of 7764 in the decathlon.

Steven Mills for the IAAF