Ali Kaya created history in the Kadriorg Stadium tonight as he became the first man to claim a long distance double at the European Athletics U23 Championships.
As has become a customary sight at continental level, Kaya scared off the opposition with an opening lap of 59.93 which is more or less world record pace for the 5000m.
By 600m, the Turk had forged a seven second gap on the second pack which remained tightly bunched until the last lap.
Up front, Kaya couldn’t maintain his ambitious early pace but the European indoor 3000m champion from Prague was still rewarded with his second championship record in three days in 13:20.16.
More than 200 metres behind Kaya, Belgium’s Isaac Kimeli finished strongly for silver in 13:54.33 with Carlos Mayo from Spain taking bronze in 13:55.19.
Rebekka Haase also claimed her second gold medal of the championships and in doing so, the German became the first woman to claim a sprint double at the European Under-23 Championships since Manuela Levorato in 1999.
As was the case in the 100m, the Germans scooped up gold and silver. Haase claimed the title in 23.16 while Anna-Lena Freese finished strongly for silver in 23.22. And on this form, who would bet against them in the 4x100m relay tomorrow evening?
The best performance of the championships so far arguably came on the in-field courtesy of Germany’s Christin Hussong, who won the women’s javelin title by exactly seven metres. The 21-year-old added more than two metres to her lifetime best with a fourth round effort of 65.60m to break the championship record and the German under-23 record.
“It’s crazy; I don’t know what happened today!” said the winner. “Now I will think about the World Championships where I will try to beat my record.”
The first of four championship records was set in the women’s steeplechase final but not without drama. Turkey’s Tugba Güvenç recovered from a heavy fall on the last lap to improve the record down to 9:36.16.
Noemi Zbaren equalled Susanna Kallur’s championship record of 12.88 in the semi finals but the Swiss claimed the record outright in the final. The conditions were far from perfect but Zbaren powered to the title in 12.71.
“Yesterday my start was not really good,” said Zbaren, who came within one-tenth of Lisa Urech’s Swiss record. “But I think this race was close to perfect. Now my next aim is the World Championships.”
After setting a 51.31 personal best in the heats, Romania’s Bianca Razor matched that time to win the women’s 400m final four years after claiming the European junior title on this track. In the men’s equivalent, Frenchman Thomas Jordier won the title in a lifetime best of 45.50.
The French took a second gold medal on the track thanks to Renelle Lamote in the 800m. Ukraine’s Anastasiya Tkachuk impressed in the heats and held off the Frenchwoman down the back straight but Lamote, who recently won the event at the European Athletics Team Championships, kept something in reserve to overhaul Tkachuk in the home straight, 2:00.19 to 2:00.43.
A third title came courtesy of Alexandra Tavernier in the women’s hammer. After setting a championship record of 72.98m in qualifying, Tavernier’s first throw in the final of 71.68m would have sufficed for the title but she improved to 72.50m with her last throw of the competition.
Elsewhere on the track, Spain’s Marc Alcala won the 1500m in 3:44.54 with a 53.3 last lap, David Omoregie won Britain’s second gold medal of the championships in the 110m hurdles in 13.63 while Karol Zalewski from Poland retained his 200m title in 20.49 to close the programme.
Ending the first day with three lifetime bests, Russia’s Aleksey Kravtsov leads the decathlon overnight with 4269 ahead of Pieter Braun (4218) and Fredrik Samuelsson (4214).
World junior champion Jiri Sykora was tipped to win a medal in his first year as a senior but the Czech had a disaster in the high jump with three failures at his opening height of 1.83m and didn’t start the 400m.
Slovenia took gold in the men’s pole vault with Robert Renner setting a national under-23 record of 5.55m to claim the title while Russia’s Ilya Ivanyuk sealed the high jump title with a 2.30m clearance.
In the women’s discus qualifying, the German trio of Anna Ruh, Shanice Craft and Kristin Pudenz qualified for the final but the longest mark of the morning went to Poland’s Daria Zabawska. The Pole, whose mother Krystyna placed fifth in the shot put at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, improved her personal best from 56.82m to 60.23m.
European junior champion Malaika Mihambo from Germany led the long jump qualifying with 6.75m while Dmitriy Chizhikov sailed over the automatic qualifying mark of 16.15m in the triple jump with 17.08m.