Kszczot leaves it late to remain unbeaten in Lievin

Adam Kszczot
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Poland's Adam Kszczot maintained his unbeaten start to the season with victory over 800m at the Meeting de Lievin on Tuesday

On the European stage, Adam Kszczot remains an unstoppable force over 800m. He is a two-time European outdoor champion, a three-time European indoor gold medallist and currently holds both those crowns.

But when it comes to the World Championships - indoors or outdoors - it has become a story of being so close.

The Polish star will be determined to make the top of the podium at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham next month after extending his unbeaten streak at the Meeting de Lievin, a European Athletics Indoor Permit Meeting, on Tuesday (13) evening.

The famous one-day event in northern France returned to the calendar after an absence of six years and both Kszczot and reigning world 800m champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse made it count.

Kszczot maintained his unbeaten run this year by winning over 800m while Bosse won the 1000m.

It was last summer at the IAAF World Championships in London that Bosse had just enough to win 800m gold in a brilliant result for Europe as he ran Kszczot into second, 1:44.67 to 1:44.95.

Over four laps indoors, Kszczot has become a master on the European scene and he has been so close indoors on the world stage. At home in Sopot in 2014 he was beaten by just 0.36 - that silver medal going alongside his bronze from Doha 2010 and his two world outdoor silver medals.  

In an exciting race, Kszczot came through very late in Lievin to win in 1:47.12 from Spain’s Alvaro de Arriba - who holds the European-leading mark at 1:45.43 - by two-hundredths with Kenya’s Nicholas Kipkoech third in 1:47.25.

Bosse fell short of Mehdi Baala’s long-standing national record of 2:17.01 in the 1000m but the reigning world champion triumphed in the final event in an emphatic style, winning in 2:20:01 by nearly two seconds from Morocco’s Mouad Zahafi (2:21.73).

Stefanidi improves to 4.83m  

Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi is heading to Birmingham in fine form too as she showed in Lievin by achieving yet another victory.

She went over at 4.83m - her best of the year - having won in Rouen on Saturday with 4.82m and though she tried for a world lead and meeting record of 4.91m, it was not to be her night.

But Stefanidi was the clear winner from France’s Ninon Guillon-Romarin (4.52m) and Germany’s Katharina Bauer (4.42m).

Stefanidi has never won a world indoor title – she took bronze in Portland in 2016 – so Birmingham could become a major landmark for her as she endeavours to claim her fifth successive major title.

The form of Norway’s multiple European U20 champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen is just as amazing as he lowered the European U20 record for the third race running.

As Djibouti’s former world indoor champion Ayanleh Souleiman won in a world-leading 3:35.39, Ingebrigtsen, 17, finished seventh in 3:40.31 but just missed the World Indoor Championships qualifying mark of 3:39.50.

It was also a record night for Latvia’s Gunta Latiseva-Cudare as she won the 300m in a national record of 36.96 while Belgium’s Jonathan Borlee won the men’s 300m in 32.98.

Ukraine’s Hanna Plotitsyna won the women’s 60m hurdles in 8.02 as Hungary’s Greta Kerekes ran a personal best of 8.11 in second while France’s Ludovic Payen won the men’s 60m hurdles in 7.66.