Vicente outduels Nacheva in a thrilling triple jump final in Gyor

Maria Vicente
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Spain's Maria Vicente won her second gold medal of the European Athletics U18 Championships in Gyor, Hungary in the triple jump with a championship record of 13.95m

Spain's Maria Vicente further embellished her status as one of the next great all-round athletes with a magnificent competitive display to win her second gold medal of the European Athletics U18 Championships in Gyor, Hungary on Sunday (8).

Competing for the fourth successive day, Vicente laid down a brilliant early marker in the first round of the triple jump final, extending her lifetime best and the championship record out to 13.84m. Pre-competition favourite Aleksandra Nacheva began with 13.43m and despite some narrow no-jumps which would have challenged Vicente's lead, it wasn't until the fifth round that the Bulgarian began to make some headway.

Nacheva came within 10 centimetres of Vicente's lead in the fifth round with 13.76m before surpassing it with another championship record of 13.88m with her sixth round jump. The stage was left to Vicente and the heptathlon winner showed her steel by responding with 13.95m.

"I enjoyed competing with Aleksandra for the first place, and I am extremely happy that I was able to win another gold medal at this European Championships," said Vicente, whose winning mark was also in excess of the qualifying standard for the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships. "If you enjoy what you do, you can achieve anything!" 

Not only does Vicente come away with two gold medals, she also broke one world record and set three championship records. Her heptathlon score of 6221 points eclipsed Alina Shukh's world U18 best and she produced a championship record of 6.37m in the long jump on the second day of the heptathlon. Vicente added the triple jump title and championship record to her collection and for posterity, her 100m hurdles heptathlon time would have won the individual title.  

Nacheva also came away with a silver medal at the World U18 Championships in Nairobi last year but the 16-year-old will have another chance to win a major title next week at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland. Nacheva might have lost her championship record which she set in qualifying but she still holds the world U20 lead with 14.00m.

"I think I had more in me, I could have done better than the 13.88 metres, but this was my best result at this competition, and I am satisfied with the silver medal," said Nacheva.

Finland's Jessica Kahara won a bronze medal in the triple jump with 13.29m before taking a silver medal in the high jump with 1.83m and two places behind her in the triple jump final was Maria Privalova, daughter of 2000 Olympic 400m hurdles champion Irina, who went out to 12.99m.

Mahuchikh and Lillefosse break championship records

Vicente was also victorious in the triple jump at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Gyor last July and two other athletes who completed the same double - also with championship records - were Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh in the high jump and Norway's Pal Haugen Lillefosse in the pole vault.

Mahuchikh would have won the contest by virtue of a first-time clearance at 1.83m in the high jump but the 16-year-old then cleared 1.86m before setting a lifetime best and championship record of 1.94m on her third attempt. Mahuchikh elected not to jump again, although she has the rest of the summer if she has aspirations to challenge the world age-16 best of 1.95m held by Russia's Maria Kuptsova.

Lillefosse also scaled Greece's Emmanouil Karalis' world U18 best of 5.55m in the pole vault and while that mark remains intact, he did erase his championship record. After winning a bronze in the 100m, the Norwegian sprinter-cum-pole vaulter cleared each height from 5.00m to 5.35m on his first attempts before clearing a championship record of 5.46m on his third attempt. This was Norway's second gold medal of the night after Martine Hjornevik won the 100m hurdles title in 13.26.

Aleksandr Komarov and Latvia's Olegs Kozjakovs were tied on points after the javelin but the neutral athlete had a stronger 1500m to win the decathlon title with 7703 points. Teammate Violetta Ignatyeva dominated the discus final, extending her lifetime best to 54.56m in the final round and Belarus' Aliaksandra Konshyna won the javelin title with a lifetime best of 56.71m.