European Athletics Championships 2014 – Day 4

So, the fourth day of the European championship is behind us. The third day proved to be a successful one for the Poles, but also for the Ukrainians.

BTW, I usually don’t write about the morning session, but yesterday the women high jump qualifiers took place, and I was very saddened by Vlasic recording a DNS. I finally thought she was over with her injuries this year, and she looked good at the diamond league meets, but there you go…

Heptathlon Women

Well, eventually I got excited with this event. All thanks to the javelin, where we were treated to many throws of the major candidates. Thiam, who lacks the massive build of Broersen and Nana-Djimou, wasn’t as successful as in the previous events, and she managed to throw only 49.69, for 854 points.

A new discovery in the heptathlon was the second Dutch girl – Anouk Vetter. She threw the javelin very nicely, and had the second best throw with 52.49, but even more than that – I was surprised to see how much she looks like Kluft!

The best thrower was Nana Djimou, who collected 941 points with a good throw of 54.18, and moved into first place.

But the points differences were small. Before the 800, the last event, Nana-Djimou led with only 19 points over Broersen, and 51 points over Thiam.

The 800 were dramatic. Nana-Djimou ran the first lap in the middle of the group, behind Broersen, and I thought there is a chance that the gap will be large enough for Broersen to move into 1st place overall. But the superb Frenchwoman turned on the NOS in the second lap to pass everyone save the leading Hungarian, and finished second with a new awesome PB! Gold medal for Nana-Djimou, who defended her title!

Carolin Schafer ran a brave race and she finished third, 3+ seconds ahead of Thiam (who isn’t much of a 800 runner), but it wasn’t enough to pass her in the standings.

Gold – Nana-Djimou, silver – Broersen, bronze – Thiam.

400m Men Final

The first surprise of the evening was the DNS of Jonathan Borlee. WTF happened there? Anyway, I was cheering for Sanford, but was pretty sure Rooney would win, now with Borlee out of the picture.

And he did. And with a nice time as well – 44.71. The 19 year-old Matthew Hudson-Smith came second, with a great result for that age – 44.75.

And Donald Sanford came third!! He started well, got a little behind around 300 meters, but then kicked in and managed to pass the Pole to earn the bronze medal. YESSSSSSS!!!

A new NR for Sanford, after he already set one in the semis. Damn! And a third medal for Israel at the European championships, after Averbukh’s two golds.

45.27 for you Donald Sanford, you go Donald Sanford!

BTW, it’s amazing to see that the best European results are a whole bloody second behind the PB’s of Merritt and Kirani James. Oh well, who cares right now, Sanford got the bronze!

400m Women Final

Libania Grenot dominated this one, and won with a mediocre result of 51.10. Zemlyak the Ukranian came second with a 51.36.

Ohuruogu? She ran her usual race and was way behind coming down the final stretch. She had her usual finish spurt, but it wasn’t enough to win the bronze, which went for Terrero the Spaniard. Damn.

It wasn’t Ohuruogu’s best year, but after the miracle she performed at the world championships last year when she beat Montsho, I promised to never bet against her. This time I guess it didn’t work…

1500m Women Final

Oi Aregawi Aregawi!

Last year was THE year of Aregawi. She was unbeaten and you could easily just hand her the gold medal before every race she entered, it was THAT obvious she would win.

But this year something changed. Either she got a bit weaker, or she finally met her match in the likes of Sifan Hassan.

Hassan the Dutch beat her several times already in the diamond league circuit. I was hoping the Swede would avenge that in these championships, but unlike last year – I had no real confidence in that. Aregawi finally looked human.

Aregawi started the race the usual way – lurking near the front. Hassan started at the back, but moved to the front pack later on.

In the final lap Aregawi kicked into sixth gear (is there a sixth gear? It’s been ages since I last drove a manual car). She separated herself from anyone but Hassan, who stayed near her. I was really cheering for Abeba from my living room, but she didn’t have an answer when Hassan moved for the kill in the final 100m.

The final results – Hassan gold, 4:04.18, Aregawi silver, 4:05.08. L

I guess Aregawi finally met her nemesis. We can only hope that their battles will continue in the next few years.

The bronze went to WHO FUCKING CARES?!?!?!

Just kidding, it’s just that there was such a great battle for the first two places that at first I really didn’t register who came third. Apparently it was the Brit Weightman.

Long Jump Men Qualification

Interesting. Tsatoumas, who doesn’t have any serious achievements in the major championships but who has an unbelievable PB of 8.66 (Whaaaaat?!), produced the best jump of the Q’s, a 8.19. Greg Rutherford, a.k.a. Barney Stinson, who is the EL this year, also qualified by jumping 8.03.

The major disappointment was Sasha Menkov, who is battling with injuries this season, after his marvelous last year. He managed to jump only 7.78 to finish 13th, and missed the final by one spot.

Who are the favorites for the final? Normally I wouldn’t single out Tsatoumas, but maybe he is coming into his element? The Brits are always a threat, especially Barney. Christian Reif, the champion from 2010, has been a big promise back then, and his PB is neat – 8.47, but he fails to deliver on the big stage usually, similarly to his compatriot Sebastian Bayer (who didn’t even make the final). I think I would also single out Gaisah. But it’s a pity Menkov isn’t there…

High Jump Men Final

The much awaited final of the day suffered from the conditions – again there was shitty weather, including rain and general unpleasantness.

Only four jumpers have cleared 2.30. At that point I was sure Bohdan will win the title, with Ukhov coming second and Protsenko in third place.

Baba the Czech (a promising jumper a few years back when he had long hair, a decent jumper now, with short hair) finished 4th when he couldn’t clear 2.33, but he was still at 3rd place when he fouled out, due to Bondarenko being his usual self and skipping this height. Next was Ukhov, who is really unstable, and he too failed to clear 2.33. When Ukhov is in his element, he is one of the 3 best jumpers in the world, but there are days like this one…

Protsenko surprised us when he cleared 2.33 on his 3rd attempt, and moved to first place.

Then the bar was raised to 2.35. I had no doubt in my mind that Bohdan will make this height, and so he did, on his second attempt. Protsenko failed once, and then moved his remaining attempts to 2.37, but I was sure he won’t make it. And he didn’t.

Bohdan didn’t even bother to jump it. After Protsenko failed his remaining attempts, Bohdan went for the ER and set the bar at 2.43. But with the crappy conditions it was pretty clear that he was probably not going to make it. And true enough, after the first unsuccessful attempt Bondarenko bowed out.

2.35 for Bondarenko the winner, 2.33 for Protsenko with the silver, and 2.30 for Ukhov with the bronze. Not the results we got used to this year, but hey – maybe we got too spoiled by the diamond league…

1-2 for the Ukraine, and we also had Krymarenko jumping – the surprising world champion from 2005. Damn, if we only had a relay high jump competition…

800m Men Final

Another big surprise! Bosse, the hot favorite, took the lead from the start and ran a very fast first 400m. He led the race, but midway through the second lap was overtaken by the mighty Poles. Damn Bosse, pick yourself up! But he couldn’t. In the end he finished dead last, jesus…

Adam Krshzzczhot was the winner, with an awesome result of 1:44.15, with his lesser known compatriot Kuciapski coming in second, with a new PB. Mark English the Irish (o_O) came third. Kudos for Kszczshzhot, I really like this runner and was glad to see him fulfill his potential. Bosse really fucked up this race and I can’t understand why. He ran at a fast pace, true, but he was on pace for a result he already achieved this year… no comprende… What is it with the French at these championships?!

200m Women Final

THE highlight of the fourth day. I betted on Schippers and predicted she can run 22.20. But I didn’t expect what she actually did!

Dafne started out really strong, and her win wasn’t in danger at any point. But then she simply set the track on fire, en route to a truly amazing result of 22.03!!! Damn, Dafne!

Half an hour later, Jodie Williams came in second, with a PB of 22.46. And Soumare rounded up the medalists. And once again an awesome performance by the Swiss Kambundji – 5th place and a NR of 22.83.

Schippers now won both the 100 and the 200, AND she has a decent chance of a medal at the relay. You better call Alicia Keys in here, cuz this girl is on FIRE!

Hammer Throw Women Final

An event of great quality, probably the best we have seen (and will see) at Zurich 2014. Anita Wlodarczyk, one of the best throwers in the world, fouled her first two throws. Shewas on the verge of elimination, but like a true champ she came through on her third attempt, with a 75.88 and the first place. Over the next two throws she extended her lead, and her fifth throw was a MASSIVE 78.76, the third longest EVAR, a new PB, and just 66cm less then Betty Heidler’s WR!!

In a whole other universe, the battle for the other two medals carried on, with Martina Hrasnova securing the silver, and Joanna Fiodorow the Pole moving into third place with her last throw. That throw moved the great Klaas out of the medals, but to see the joy of Fiodorow when her bronze was secured was simply priceless…

The only question still left open was whether Anita would break the WR. She was in an amazing form, improving with every throw, that I thought this is a real possibility. She already did this at the 2009 world championships (and twisted her ankle celebrating afterwards), and I thought we might witness a repeat.

Her sixth throw was massive. A truly HUGE one. But unfortunately it landed outside the legal area. Although you could see that if you drew a curve from the landing place that it was probably longer than the WR… Damn, such a great chance for a WR! But nevertheless, a great performance for Wlodarczyk, and she won the gold by a staggering 4 meters margin.

400m Hurdles Men Final

Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch this one live. We had a power blackout which caused us to miss this interesting race. I saw it later on youtube.

My favorite was Rasmus Magi (damn his name is awesome), but he couldn’t match the home favorite Kariem Hussein, who was in charge during the last 200m. His victory was comfortable despite the small margin, and he set a NR in the process – 48.96. Rasmus Magi came a disappointed second, and the Russian Kudryavtsev came third.

Another favorite, Emir Bekric, who shocked the world last year with a wonderful performance at the world championships (a bronze medal), came only 6th.

Now the Swiss have a champion! This is nice, I like it when the home athletes show good form.

200m Men Final

Adam Gemili got me worried after the semis, and this feeling only increased after watching his easy and smiling figure at the starting blocks.

I was still rooting for Lemaitre, but was already acknowledging that he will probably have to settle for the silver. Which he eventually did.

Gemili ran a great race, and Lemaitre couldn’t match him. 19.98 for Gemili, a great result, and a repeat of his PB, 20.15 for Christophe in second place, and a very surprising 20.30 for the Ukrainian Serhiy Smelyk in third place! Damn what an awesome day for the Ukrainians.

Gemili won fair and square, and he’s really young too – only 20 years old. Lemaitre collected his second silver here and his 7th medal overall at the European championships, + he will have a chance for an 8th at the relay, although with Vicaut probably out the chances of a gold one are like the chances of Tyson Gay ever beating Justin Gatlin – non-existent. Not with the Brits looking the way they do in the sprint.

So, this is it for day number 4. Now the morning sessions are over, but we still have two more great evening sessions ahead of us.

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