Donato hits heights of form to outdo El-Sheryf in the rain
|Fabrizio Donato of Italy won the triple jump gold with a
massive jump of 17.63m on Saturday.
Beneath a deep grey sky and with rain driving down with the kind of force seen here during the 2005 World Championships, Donato responded to an impressive first-round effort of 17.28m by the Ukraine’s 21-year-old Sheryf El-Sheryf with a massive effort of 17.63m that would have been the best in the world this year had a following wind of +2.8mps not invalidated it for record purposes.
Wind or no wind, it counted for the title, but Donato – all in blue with long dark socks - proceeded to back it up with three more 17m-plus jumps on an awful night for jumpers, registering 17.53 – which, with a legal wind of +0.8mps equalled the 2012 European best set earlier this year by Russia’s Lyukman Adams, absent here – followed by 17.49 and 17.17.
“It was a fantastic competition and an overwhelming result as I also did my personal best and season’s best,” said Donato.
But if it was a great night for the Italian, it was certainly a good night for El-Sheryf, whose opening effort secured him silver, his first major medal. Aliaksei Tsapik of Belarus took bronze with his second round best of 16.97, albeit supported by a windspeed of +3.8mps. It was that kind of night.
“It was difficult conditions tonight,” Tsapik said. “The wind was blowing in my face.” Aleksey Fyodorov of Russia was fourth with a season’s best of 16.83, with Momchil Karailiev of Bulgaria fifth on 16.77 and Poland’s Karol Hoffman sixth with 16.74.
El Sheryf caused a minor sensation in the event last year in winning the European Under 23 title in Ostrava last season in 17.78 – improving on a personal best of 16.93. But his relatively disappointing performances at the subsequent World Championships in Daegu, where he was 12th with 16.38, and at this year’s World Indoor Championships, where 16.25 failed to qualify him for the final, suggested he was finding it difficult to live up to his level of performance in the Czech Republic.
His first jump discounted that suggestion, however, although the elements were of some assistance to the Ukrainian as the wind speed behind him had risen dramatically to +2.2mps, which would have invalidated the effort for record purposes.
While Donato maintained his high level, though, the younger man’s level of performance tailed off as he recorded successive efforts of 16.99, 16.94 and 16.57 before pulling out of the event and crossing his fingers.
“I’m not totally satisfied, as I made some mistakes,” El-Sheryf said. “Plus the cold weather wasn’t good for me.” It wasn’t that bad for him, though…
Before the Championships, Donato’s Italian team-mate Daniele Greco appeared to have a stronger chance, given his effort earlier this month of 17.47, which was the second best European performance of the year and the fifth best in the world. But Greco had failed to qualify in a competition which saw Donato progress with the best jump of 17.17, and he certainly lived up to the rising hopes being held out for him.