European Athletics Championships 2014 – Day 1

As an avid athletics fan, the European Athletics Championship is a must. And this year it is promising to be a more exciting event than the last one, which suffered from the  London Olympics being held less than a month after it ended.

But this year we have no Summer Olympics, which kind of sucks of course, but on the other hand we can enjoy an all-out-war of European athletes.

So, this year the championship is being held in Zurich, Switzerland. I will try and post daily updates of the events that took place the day before, and today we begin with the events of the first day – August 12th.

Due to my first half of the day being regularly occupied by work, I don’t really have the opportunity to watch the morning events. So I will confine myself to commenting on the evening session, which is more interesting anyway.

Discus Men Qualification 

Well, no surprises here. Well, if you don’t count Alekna’s appearance. Jesus, I thought he retired already! But no, this living legend is still with us, and was attempting to reach the final on his 43rd year… I actually thought he has a chance, due to his SB being over 65m, but he performed badly and didn’t throw over 60m. 😦

Robert Harting is as usual my favorite for the final. It’s simply amazing to see how he throws the disc, with his feet planted firmly in the ground, unlike many of his competitors. It seems like he doesn’t put any effort into it! And yet his first throw was the longest one in the field, by far – over 67m.

Malachowski is probably the favorite for the silver, although I will be really glad if Kanter the giant from Estonia wins it.

But Harting is my favorite for the gold. Stay tuned for his shirt-ripping ritual!

Decathlon Men

I find it a bit difficult to follow the decathlon in this championship. Ashton Eaton is not competing, obviously, and without him is seems that the main competitors keep changing and there isn’t some elite European decathlete who rules in many competitions. I feel that the last great European decathlete was Roman Sebrle, and he’s retired now.

Anyway, we got to see an amazing display of high-jumping by Krauchanka. He managed to jump 2.22m (!!!), and collected a whole bunch of points, but because of his masterful jumping he had less time to prepare for the 400m dash later on, and I thought that it will hurt him in the race. It did. He ran very badly, and it cost him the lead.

Kai Kazmirek (Germany) also jumped well (2.13), and I also predicted that he will suffer from it in the 400m. Little did I know… Kazmirek was simply fantastic, and ran an amazing 47.34! Damn. He leads after the first five events.

400m Women Qualification

Well, not much to say about it here. I was really surprised to see Ohuruogu running the way she did. I’m used to her starting slowly and turning the heat on in the second half of the race, but this time it seemed like she was running fast from the start. On the other hand, it might be that the competition was so lousy that they made her look so good. Anyway, a 51.40 and a SB for Ohuruogu.

100m Men Qualification

All the favorites made their way to the semi-finals. Lemaitre (my personal favorite), Dasaolu, Chaimbers (whom I really liked back in the early 2000’s) and Aikines-Aryeetey (damn that dude is buffed) looked great, but Jimmy Vicaut looked even greater, with a 10.06!

800m Men Qualification

What’s up with Borzakovsky? Is he retired? Where the fuck is he? He was, and still is, one of my all-time favorite track athletes, and his win at the 2004 olympics was really emotional, Yuri, make a sound!

The qualifying rounds were largely uneventful. My favorite here is Adam Kszczshzhzot, but I think that Bosse the Frenchman will be the champion. Bosse has shown tremendous form in the diamond league circuit this year, and he recently set an amazing PB, so it will be foolish to bet against him. Maybe the Poles can do a 2-3?

Shot Put Men Final

Gee, talk about a sleeping pill. I really love the shot put, but this was probably the most boring shot putting contest I have ever seen. No drama, no big results, nothing. David Storl is amazing, but after he killed the competitors with his first throw of 21.41m, and saw that no one is coming anywhere near that, he seemed to lose interest. He fouled a lot of tries, which is really uncharacteristical, and didn’t improve at all. A very easy win for the 24 year old German, who already is a double world champion, a double european champion, and an olympic silver medalist.

I predicted that Majewski will give him a run for the money, but the great Pole was nowhere near his best form, and had to settle for bronze. BTW, I noticed for the first time that despite his great height (204cm), he has really short legs! A very unusual build.

The silver medal went for Vivas Borja, an unknown Spaniard, with Asmir Kolasinac producing a very big throw, probably in the medals area, only to foul.

Long Jump Women Qualification

Well, we only saw the highlights of this one. Eloyse Lesueur, the defending champion, qualified easily, and so did a whole bunch of other jumpers, including the pretty Klishina, and Ivana  Spanovic (the Kim Kardashian of long jump). I think Spanovic will take the gold, but no clear favorite here.

10,000m Women Final

Another sleeping pill. The race was so damn slow! And no european runner is considered one of the top runners in the world. Really, it’s amazing how some events here can be considered as an equivalent to a world championship (like the discus), and how others are not really up to par with the rest of the world and really suck – like this one…

The best women European 10,000 run I saw was back in 2002, when Paula Radcliffe ran a very brave race – all by herself. She decided that there won’t be a tactical race, and set to break the 30 minutes barrier. She missed it by a mere second, but gained the admiration of all track & field fans all over the world, and won the gold by a huuuuuge margin.

Here? A very tactical race, with only the last lap being really interesting. The veteran Brit Jo Pavey, who in September will turn 41 (what in the name of all fucks?!) had an awesome finish, and won over Clemence Calvin. Pavey is a familiar name, but this was a real surprise to me. To accomplish that at such an age! Damn.

The bronze went to another Frenchwoman, Laila Traby.

The time? Pavey – 32:22.39. Urgh,,, And BTW, I heard about Belete here and Belete there, but the Belgian finished only 15th…

100m Hurdles Women Qualification

Well, all the favorites qualified easily for the semis. Tiffany Porter looked awesome, with a SB of 12.63. Cindy Billaud was great too, with a 12.79. I was a bit surprised with Alina Talay who only managed a 12.94, which was also a SB. She qualified with the 7th best time. Well, maybe it’s not her year… Nadine Hildebrand also dissapointed a bit, with only a 12.92 and the 6th fastest time.

My money is on Porter, but I hope Billaud (whom I really like) will give her a fight.

 

Well, that’s it for the first day. More to follow!

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