European Athletics Championships 2014 – Day 2

Well, the second day of the European Athletics Championships was better than the first day, and was particularly successful for the British team. As I wrote in the previous post, I will only cover the evening events.

There was a large delay in the schedule due to some very strong winds and bad weather, which interrupted the Decathlon pole vault competition while several jumpers were still jumping. But nevertheless the organizers managed to run all the scheduled competitions, even though they ended way later than planned.

Decathlon Men

The second day of the competition proved to be a tough one due to the interrupted pole vault. This caused the group of decathletes to split, and the decathletes that haven’t finished their vaulting performed the remaining vaults first, while the other guys were already throwing the javelin. Then they completed the javelin event, before running the 1500m with the rest.

The pole vault changed the picture of the potential medalists. Krauchanka was very good (5.10m), Shkurenyov was better (5.20m), but Sintnicolaas outperformed them all, with a massive vault of 5.40m, which catapulted him to 2nd place overall, with Krauchanka leading and Shkurenyov on 3d place.

However, the Dutch decathlete lost his position in the javelin, when he couldn’t manage to throw beyond 60m. Shkurenyov went berserk and improved his PB twice to 63.58m eventually, and Krauchanka managed to throw a massive 68.11m, which was completely unexpected with his non-impressive and deceptively lay-back throwing style. Kazmirek managed to return to 3rd place, but the situation was tight and it all came down, like it always does in the decathlon, to the 1500m.

Krauchanka had a massive lead, and so he ran with the easy pace of a winner. The Frenchmen outperformed the rest of the field, and it was especially beneficial for Kevin Mayer (WTF? This is in no way a French name!), who ran a good 4:24 and managed to squeeze into the silver medal position. Shkurenyov had to watch Sintnicolaas and this is what he did – he came 5 seconds behind him, which was enough for the bronze medal. Kazmirek didn’t have any fuel left in him, and he faded to 6th place in the final standings. Krauchanka gold, Mayer silver, and Shkurenyov bronze.

I really took a liking to Krauchanka (the silver medalist from the 2008 olympics, BTW) this competition. He is a big dude who excels in big-guys stuff like jumping and throwing.

400m Men Semi-Finals

I thought this to be a somewhat not very interesting event, due to all the major forces coming from outside of Europe. But it was really interesting actually. Rasmus Magi is the clear favorite here. He won his semi comfortably, with a field-best result of 48.54 (a PB), and all this with slowing down at the end and looking over to see whether anyone is near him. Rasmus has the name and the looks of some real Hollywood MAN, BTW. Like a young Clint Eastwood.

Kudos to the Russian Chalyy who at the tender age of 20 set a NUR of 48.69. But I wonder – where is Dai Greene??? Anyway, my money is on Rasmus.

100m Women Semi-Finals and Final

The semis were won by the three favorites – Schippers, Lalova and Soumare. The Swiss Kambundji surprised everyone by qualifying for the final with a new NR of 11.20. I was really sad to see Verena Sailer not making it through, though. And none of the Ukrainians, who are always strong, made it as well.

The final was run under terrible conditions. A strong head-wind and some rain discouraged any thoughts of a good result. Soumare started well, but Schippers caught her despite a slow start, and won eventually with a 11.12. Not her best result, but she was very consistent this year and deserves the win. And she is still only 22 years old! Damn, the future is bright for this pretty Dutchwoman. Soumare finished second with a 11.16, and third came the Brit Ashleigh Nelson with a 11.22. Kambundji finished fourth, but this is a huge achievement nonetheless. She was rewarded by thunderous applause at the end. Lalova, who first burst onto the international scene 10 years ago with an out-of-this-world 10.77 before the Athens Olympics, finished only fifth.

Triple Jump Women Qualifying

I was sorry to hear that our Hanna Knyazyeva won’t be competing due to an injury to her Achilles tendon. She had a real chance of finishing very high, maybe even threatening the medals, but oh well…

Olha Saladuha produced the biggest jump of the qualifying round, with a 14.42 (a SB for her), but this wasn’t the usual Saladuha. I don’t think she will win. I’m betting instead on Koneva, who is having a good season on the diamond league circuit. She as the only other jumper who qualified by going over the required minimum (she jumped 14.21). Two other Russians qualified, but where are the great days of Lebedeva?

400m Women Semi-Finals

Well, here we saw the regular Ohuruogo, who starts slow and accelerates in the final straight. She didn’t look so good here, though, and finished second in her semi with a worse time than in the previous round. Olha Zemlyak looked great, and so did Grenot, the leading European this year. Will one of them be the winner, or will Christine pull another trick out of her sleeve?

400m Men Semi-Finals

This one was a joy to watch due to Donald Sanford qualifying for the finals with a new Israeli record of 45.39! Donald is in great form, and his time was third overall. While I don’t think it is realistic to talk about medals, I think that a top-5 will be a great achievement for him. I hope he can perform the same way today…

The Borlee family had a disappointment, when Kevin didn’t qualify for the finals. He ran a really stupid race – started out WAY TOO FAST, and really faded in the end. Jonathan ran a much better race and qualified easily. I hope he manages to win a medal, but he will have a tough competition from the Brits Martyn Rooney and Conrad Williams.

100m Men Semi-Finals and Final

Jimmy Vicaut was injured and didn’t compete in the semis. This sucked majorly, since he was perhaps the number one contender for the gold, but without him the competition seemed to be more open. Lemaitre, Dasaolu, Aikines-Aryeetey and Chambers qualified for the final, while Martina disappointed and didn’t.

The conditions for the men’s final were better than for the women’s. No rain, and the head-wind was weaker. Chambers started out really strong, being a very good 60m runner, but he faded and Dasaolu was the one who won (easily), with a 10.06. Lemaitre came through for the silver (10.13), which was his third medal at the European 100m, after two golds. Aikines-Aryeetey (10.22) managed to win the bronze before Chambers who came fourth (10.24), and it was a bit weird seeing this mountain of a man celebrating wildly. Jesus that guy is big. No surprises here, as Dasaolu was really the best European this year apart from Vicaut. I hope that Lemaitre can win some gold in the 200m.

Oh, and what a fine quartet the Brits will have in the 4*100m! They won 3 of the top 4 positions, jesus. Do we really have to run the 4*100m? Can’t we just hand them their gold medal and be done with it?

10,000m Men Final

This one was more interesting than the women’s 10,000. Mo Farah ran his first 10,000 this year, and it was really interesting to see whether he can still win it. There was no question over him being clearly the alpha dog, but does he still has it in him after transitioning to the marathon?

We got a classic Mo race. He lurked in the shadows for 9600m, always a bit behind the leader, letting him break the wind and tire himself, and then went for the kill. However, maybe it’s the slow pace that left his competitors fresh enough, or maybe it’s Mo himself that was a bit rusty, but his sprint in the last 400m didn’t shake off all the other runners. In fact, he really struggled with Kaya the Turk until really the last 100m, when he finally broke free of his grasp and won handily. Kaya faded, and in the last few meters was outsprinted by uncle Vernon, another Brit, for the silver medal. Arkan, the defending champion, finished only fourth.

Farah’s time? 28:08.11. Very slow, but this is the kind of race Farah loves. He’s not a very fast runner, he’s not Bekele (and this is why he will always be behind him in the historical rankings). But it was great seeing him back, and the king did what he was expected to do, even when he didn’t run this distance at all this year. Will there be a Mo double in the 5,000m? I think there will be.

Long Jump Women Final

Frankly, a not very interesting competition. I love the long jump, but this was a lackluster. Eloyse Lesueur retained her crown with a 6.85 jump, with Spanovic coming in second with a 6.81, and pretty Klishina winning the bronze with a 6.65, the same as the German Mihambo, but with a better second-best jump (6.53 for Klishina, 6.51 for Mihambo).

The results were pretty weak. There was a bit of a drama with the lead changing a bit, but it wasn’t anything really interesting. The second Russian – Klyashtornaya, who I was amazed to see has a PB of 7.11, jumped really really bad, and finished 10th with an abysmal 6.31m. Maybe we should talk Lebedeva out of retirement? Or even Kluft?

Discus Men Final

This event ended the day due to all the rescheduling. And it was a really predictable one. I think the throwers suffered from the conditions as well, and even the great Harting couldn’t reproduce his qualifying throw of 67.01, and settled for a 66.07, which was more than enough to give him the gold medal once again. His throwing style is a marvel to behold, and in my opinion he is the second greatest active male athlete in the world, with the first one being Usain. Three world titles, an Olympic gold medal, and two European titles!

It’s a shame we didn’t get to see his shirt-ripping ritual. He did take it off, but very gently, and after that he kissed it and used it as a pillow to sleep on the track. Always a great showman, Harting! Gerd Kanter finished second, and Robert Urbanek third. Malachowski couldn’t manage a medal position and finished only fourth.

But man, what a joy it is to watch Harting compete! I only wish that he would throw beyond 70m more often. The one thing he lacks in his repertoire is a great result like Alekna (73.88) or Kanter (73.38). Hell, even Malachowski has a better PB! Lars Riedel’s heir should produce some 72m plus in the next two years!

800m Men Semi-Finals

No surprises here. Bosse won his heat and Kszczshzhot his. We have three Poles in the final, and my guess is that they will work as a team (like Kszzhchshot and Lewandowski did in their semi) to produce two medals between them. My guess is that they won’t be in the major color, since Bosse is clearly the better runner.

100m Hurdles Women Final

It all came down to a much-predicted duel between Billaud and Porter. I admire Billaud’s style, but this time Porter was a bit faster. Porter won the gold with a 12.76, and Cindy came second with a 12.79. The third place was a surprise – Cindy Roleder the German, with a 12.82. Hildebrand? Only 6th. Talay? 5th.

The result is nothing special, but with all the weather problems (and there was also a head-wind) I think it is acceptable.

And so ends the (loooong) summary of the second day. We still have 4 of these ahead of us!

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