On a day where at times there was hardly a cloud in the sky – unlike the rain in Group A Brno – the men of ASK Slavia Praha and women of PAC from the Netherlands triumphed in Group B of the ECCC Track & Field U20 Group P in Leiria, Portugal.
ASK Slavia Praha were winners by 24 points with a total of 160 ahead of Slovenia’s AD Mass Ljubljana who join them in promotion. It was closer in the women’s competition, as Rotterdam-based club PAC took the glory by seven points - 94 to 87 - from Finland’s Tampereen Pyrinto.
Slavia gained five individual wins and a series of good top three finishers in their pursuit of the title in a city which has a rich tradition for team events.
It was back in 2009 that Leiria staged the first European Athletics Team Championships and it was the second season in a row that it hosted this competition.
Of the five Slavia victories, three came in the field as they booked their place in the top flight. Tadeas Prochazka was one of their stars as he doubled up in the discus and shot put, claiming victories with marks of 47.24m and 16.31m respectively with the U20 implements.
His clubmate and namesake Tadeas Stepanek was also victorious in the high jump, clearing 2.00m for glory before attempting in vain at 2.05m.
With many of the track events split into heats, Jan Kisala earned a maximum 10 points for ASK Slavia Praha from the opening race in the 400m hurdles as he won in 53.53 while clubmate Daniel Vejrazka was the fastest across the two heats of the 200m in 22.02.
Ljubljana sealed their promotion with a big win in the 4x100m relay, taking the runners-up spot by just three from French club Clermont Athletisme Auvergne. Their sprint relay team anchored by Filip Jakob Demsar combined to win in 43.03 with Demsar also taking the 110m hurdles in 14.33.
Estonia’s Tony Nou ran a superb 48.19 to win the 400m while Clermont’s Romain Gavillon maintained France’s outstanding pole vault tradition as he won the event with a clearance of 5.00m and team-mate Yann Chaussinand won the hammer with 67.35m.
FINAL RESULT :
1. ASK Slavia Praha (CZE) 160
2. AD Mass Ljubljana (SLO) 136
3. Clermont Athletisme Auvergne (FRA) 133
4. Audentes Sports Club (EST) 112.50
5. LV Winterthur (SUI) 92
6. Jerusalem Leader AC (ISR) 90
7. SK Sog Nitra (SVK) 87
8. Leevale AC (IRL) 77
9. Lahden Ahkera (FIN) 74.50
10. SAKA (GRE) 55.00
A nation which has Europe’s leading sprinter in Dafne Schippers saw a protege in Janine Verhaar bank 20 points with glory in the 100m and 200m and then led her Rotterdam-based team PAC to victory in the 4x100m relay.
Although they won the event by seven points, PAC had seven individual wins, with Verhaar winning impressively in three of them.
The 17-year-old won the 100m in 12.36, the 200m in 25.65 and then was the helm of the relay team which claimed victory in the 4x100m relay in 48.94.
It was a good mixture of track and field success for PAC as Marije Hijman won the 3000m steeplechase in 10.57.89. On the in-field, Nicole Etman took the high jump with 1.71m; Enid Duut won the discus with an impressive 51.05m; and Mirte Kok triumphed in the pole vault with 3.40m.
A year ago here, Tampereen missed out on promotion but they are on their way to Group A after taking second place, winning a series of events in fine style.
Heinonen Pinja was first in the 400m hurdles in 64.13; Jemina Forss clinched the 400m in 58.48; Kiia Keinonen won the 800m in 2:21.83; Olivia Makinen cleared 5.43m for victory in the long jump and they won the 4x400m relay in 4:01.84.
1. PAC (NED) 94
2. Tampereen Pyrinto (FIN) 87
3. Sport Lisboa e Benfica (POR) 83
4. AK Spartak Dubnica Nad Vahom (SVK) 80
5. Audentes Sports Club (EST) 69
6. LAS Old Boys Basel (61)
7. O.F.I (GRE) 51