Sailer equals European lead, Lavillenie eases into final | 02.03.2013
|Dafne Schippers of Netherlands, Ivet Lalova of Bulgaria and Verena
Sailer of Germany compete in the Women's 60m heats during day
two of the European Athletics Indoor Championships in
Göteborg on Saturday. (Getty Images)
To further illustrate the small margins between the potential medallists in this event, just 0.04 separated the fastest seven qualifiers into Sunday's semi-finals.
In heat one, the 2010 European outdoor 100m champion Verena Sailer of Germany took the victory by smashing her personal best to be the first athlete to equal that European lead time to take victory. Just 0.03 adrift was Holland's Dafne Schippers with European 100m champion Ivet Lalova of Bulgaria settling for third in 7.16.
Ezinne Okparaebo lowered her own Norwegian record by 0.04 to take the second heat in 7.13 some 0.06 clear of Great Britain's Asha Philip. The third and final heat witnessed a surprise victory as former world junior 100m champion Tezdzhan Naimova of Bulgaria edged the win in a photo finish from Mariya Ryemyen of Ukraine, who came into these championships as European leader and pre-event favourite. Both athletes were credited with 7.12. The quality of the first round were further illustrated as former European outdoor 200m champion Myriam Soumare of France posted a personal best of 7.16 for third.
|Renaud Lavillenie of France competes in the men's
pole vault qualification during day two of the
European Athletics Indoor Championships in
Göteborg on Saturday. (Getty Images)
The 2010 European 800m champion Marcin Lewandowski of Poland looked at home over the longer trip, taking heat two in 3:42.60. Meanwhile, European 3000m steeplechase champion Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbab secured heat three in a photo finish from 2010 European outdoor 1500m champion Arturo Casado of Spain - both recording identical times of 3:43.33.
There was no dramas in the heats of the women's 3000m as the key names all progressed into Sunday's final. In heat one, Portugal's 2009 European Indoor silver medallist Sara Moreira controlled the race from the front to win impressively in 9.01.00. Russia's Natalya Aristarkhova, who had aggressively attacked the race from halfway, was rewarded with the heat two win in 9:02.61 ahead of German Corinna Harrer.
With two events completed in the men's heptathlon, pre-event favourite Eelco Sintnicolaas of the Netherlands holds a slender three-point lead on 1887 from Estonian champion Kaarel Joevali.
The 25-year-old Dutch athlete started his gold medal winning quest by trimming 0.01 from his lifetime best with a 6.88 run in the 60m for 925pts. After the opening event Sintnicolaas sat third overall, trailing the French champion Jeremy Lelievre by 15pts after he blitzed to a personal best 6.84.
The Dutch athlete bounced two places up the overall standings courtesy of a second round long jump effort of 7.61m – within 0.04 of his lifetime best – which earned him 977pts. Joevali catapulted himself from sixth to second overall by equalling his lifetime best of 7.67m – the longest leap of the competition. Austria's Dominik Distelberger with a 7.48m effort sits third overall with a two-discipline total of 1863pts.
Sebastian Bayer's quest for an unprecedented hat-trick of European indoor long jump titles withered in the qualification as he failed to advance to the final. The 26-year-old Germany – who set a spectacular European indoor record of 8.71m en route to this title in Torino four years ago - registered a best mark of 7.91m for ninth and just failed to make the cut for the eight-man final.
Heading the qualifiers was World Indoor bronze medallist Aleksandr Menkov. The Russian, who equalled his own European lead mark of 8.22m with his third attempt, laid down a clear marker he will be the man to beat in the final and was one of only three men to exceed the automatic qualification mark of 8.05m. The others were home favourite Michel Torneus of Sweden, who broke the sand at 8.07m and the 2010 European outdoor champion Christian Reif of Germany, who set an eye-catching personal best of 8.15m.
All the main protagonists cruised into tomorrow's pole vault final during a low-key qualification. In Pool A European No.2 Bjorn Otto of Germany and Greece's Konstadinos Filippidis both cleared the automatic qualification height of 5.75m at the first time of asking. Renaud Lavillenie led the qualifiers from pool B with a second time clearance at 5.70m. The Olympic champion from France is bidding to become the first man in history to land a hat-trick of European Indoor pole vault titles.
In the women's high jump, the big names all advanced, although world leader Alessia Trost was given an almighty scare. The world junior champion from Italy scraped into the final as the eighth and final qualify courtesy of a third-time clearance at 1.92m – a height some 0.08 down on her season's best. The 2008 Olympic champion Tia Hellebaut of Belgium and four-time European Indoor medallist Ruth Beitia of Spain cruised into the medal round with first time clearances at 1.92m.
The women's shot qualification took place in the Market Square with world leader Christina Schwanitz of Germany leading the qualifiers thanks to a first round throw of 18.77m. The three other athletes to exceed the 18.00m automatic standard were Belarussian champion Alena Kopets (18.24m) and the Russian duo Irina Tarasova (18.23m) and Yevgeniya Kolodko (18.05m), the Olympic silver medallist.