Lemaitre eases through; Lalova scoots to season lead
Christophe Lemaitre and Jimmy Vicaut made it a comfortable French one-two in the first round of the 100m, clocking 10.14 and 10.18 respectively, during the morning session of the first day of the 21st European Athletics Championships in Helsinki on Wednesday.
Rytis Sakalauskas of Lithuania (10.23) and Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure (10.24) both won their heats to be next fastest of the qualifiers for the evening semi-finals.
Ireland’s Brian Gregan tops the 400m with 45.63. Medal favourites, Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslak and Yannick Fonsat of France, went through without difficulty. After the initial disqualification of no fewer than seven athletes, including Britain’s Richard Buck, the Briton was reinstated.
It is an oddity that Yuriy Borzakovskiy has never competed at the European championships over 800m, only the 400m, and he won his heat as though he still did not want to run two laps. Loping along in his usual spot at the back of the field he only opened up over the second quarter mile to win with ease. Britain’s Gareth Warburton was the only man to break 1:46 (1:45.80) while the much-fancied Robert Lathouwers of Holland and Søren Ludolph of Germany, also qualified without problems.
Round one of the 400m hurdles saw Belgium’s Michael Bultheel fastest on 49.65, but heat winner Nathan Woodward of Great Britain looked comfortable, crossing the line in 50.02 while the silver and bronze medallist from the last two editions, Rhys Williams of Great Britain, was the most impressive finisher of the round, progressing from last at hurdle eight to winner in 50.40.
In the shot, former European indoor silver medallist from the Netherlands, Rutger Smith, headed went furthest with a season’s best 20.55 followed by world champion, David Storl of Germany, on 20.30. The third longest put of the session belonged to Antonin Zalsky of the Czech Republic (19.94).
In the decathlon, The Ukraine’s Oleksey Kasyanov holds a slender advantage of 38 points over favourite Pascal Beherenbruch of Germany after the first four disciplines. Third is the Czech Republic’s Adam Helcelet, more than 90 points adrift of silver, while compatriot and former world record holder, Roman Sebrle, is only seven points off a bronze medal, but it is tight from third to seventh with only 30 points separating the positions.
Women’s events: Lalova scoots to season lead
In the first round of the women’s 100m Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova looked sharp setting a European lead 11.06 (+1.7w). Second fastest with another season’s best was the defending champion, Verena Sailer of Germany, 11.14, and third was Russia’s Olga Belkina (11.26PB). Marginal favourite coming into these championships, Olesya Povh of the Ukraine, won the opening heat with 11.30. Former champion, Christine Arron of France, failed to go through by 0.02 with 11.55, well outside her season’s best.
The 400m hurdles saw all the medal favourites advance without mishap including Zuzana Hejnova (55.24) and Denisa Rosolova of the Czech Republic, Angel Morosanu of Romania and season leader, Irina Davydova of Russia. Barcelona silver medallist, Vania Stambolova of Bulgaria and second fastest in the world this year, withdrew earlier in the week.
All the high jump medal hopefuls went through to the final with 1.90 proving sufficient to progress. Ruth Beitia of Spain, Irina Gordeyeva of Russia and Sweden’s Emma Green-Tregaro went through safely, while 2006 silver medallist, Venelina Veneva-Mateeva of Bulgaria, required three attempts at 1.90 to make sure of her place.
Karen Melis Mey of Turkey led the long jump with .6.66, the same distance as France’s Éloyse Lesueur and Norway’s Margrethe Renstrøm. 6.88 performer in 2012, Sosthene Taroum Moguenara of Germany, struggled on her first two efforts, but finally registered 6.62 to go through fourth overall. Defending champion, Ineta Radevica of Latvia, scraped through as the final qualifier in her group with a modest 6.44.
Defending triple jump champion, Olga Saladuha of The Ukraine, did not waste any time by bounding out to 14.77 in her first effort to occupy the favourite’s berth for Friday evening’s final. The only other qualifier at the first time of asking was Portugal’s Patricia Mamona who went out to 14.41. Double Olympic champion, Francoise Mbango of France, got it right in her final effort of 14.38 after two no-jumps. Season leader, Kseniya Dziatsuk of Belarus, qualified in eighth with a second-round 14.20.
The javelin was headed by the Ukraine’s Vera Rebryk who was the only competitor to go through by right in the first round. Qualifying with her second throw was Briton Goldie Sayers (60.90) while defending champion, Germany’s Linda Stahl, required all three attempts for 59.65 to go through to the final in third place.