Torun, Poland, March 6 (AFP/APP): Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs stormed to gold in the men’s 60m at the European indoor championships in Torun on Saturday, while world decathlon record holder Kevin Mayer was in heptathlon pole.
Jacobs, who was born in the United States but raised in Italy by his Italian mother, clocked an impressive 6.47 seconds. The powerfully-built 26-year-old, who reached the semi-finals of the 100m at the 2019 world outdoor championships in Doha, turned on the afterburners to leave the rest of the eight-strong field chasing his shadow. Germany’s Kevin Kranz, in 6.60sec, nipped Czech Jan Volko by one-hundredth of a second for silver.
“It’s amazing, a dream come true!” said Jacobs. “In training I was very fast, but I wasn’t expecting to run 6.47. It’s a new PB, national record, I’m just in shock. “I’m now going to work hard for the summer season, but the work I’ve done for my 60 is also good for the 100 and for the relay.”
Spain’s Oscar Husillos, in 46.22sec, took gold in the men’s 400m, going one better than in Glasgow two years ago. The winner that night was the self-proclaimed indoor 400m king Pavel Maslek, who is three-time world and European indoor 400m title holder. The 30-year-old Czech, however, failed to qualify for the final and Husillos made merry, edging Dutch runner Tony van Diepen by three-hundredths at the line for a first continental title.
There was a gold for the Netherlands in the women’s 400m, however, Femke Bol cruising home in 50.63sec to claim a crushing win ahead of home favourite Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, in 51.41sec, and Briton Jodie Williams (51.73). Bol, 21, is normally a 400m hurdler, but showed off all her sprinting prowess around two laps of the 200m-long track in a clear shot across the bows ahead of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
“I wanted to open faster than in earlier races because I knew there were some fast openers and I didn’t want to remain too far back,” Bol said. “They were still ahead of me after 200, but in the end it worked out. I got a gold and a personal best.”
Long jump drama
There was drama in the women’s long jump when Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk pulled out all the stops on her sixth and final attempt. Germany’s reigning world and European outdoor champion Malaika Mihambo had led throughout, with a best of 6.88m. But Bekh-Romanchuk, who won silvers behind Mihambo in both Berlin in 2018 and Doha a year later, had other ideas and sailed out a further 4cm to 6.92 to snatch the victory in thrilling fashion.
Switzerland’s Angelica Moser won the women’s pole vault with a best of 4.75m, 5cm ahead of Slovenia’s Tina Sutej, while Belgium’s Elise Vanderelst won the women’s 1500m in 4:18.44. Day one of the heptathlon saw Mayer, Euro indoor champion in Belgrade in 2017 and world indoor champ a year later in Birmingham, take control. The Frenchman clocked 6.86sec in the opening 60m, before registering a best of 7.47m in the long jump and 16.32m in the shot put to leave him 49 points behind Switzerland’s Simon Ehammer going into the high jump.
The Swiss saw his lead evaporate as he only managed 1.95m compared to Mayer’s 2.04, well short of his personal best of 2.10m. Either way, the Frenchman took the overnight lead, on 3571 points, with Ehammer 33pts behind on 3538.
“I feel good, I just decided not to continue to make sure I do not get into complications and to spare some energy,” Mayer said of the high jump. “I feel confident and looking forward tomorrow. It is good to be hunted by opponents!” Sunday sees the heptathletes compete in the 60m hurdles, pole vault and 1000m.
Norwegian track prodigy Jakob Ingebrigtsen will also be in action, defending his 3000m title in search of a double after being reinstated on appeal as winner of Friday’s 1500m.
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