Norway's joy is Finland's despair
|Norway's Henrik Ingebrigsten won the first ever medal for his country in the
1500m in Helsinki on Sunday.
How ironic. Twenty-hours later, on the same home straight in the Olympic Stadium in the final at the European Athletics Championships, Sandells was the victim of a trip.
Down he went with 500 metres to go, and the groans could be heard all the way to St Petersburg.
He was in contention, and he might have been quick enough because the race was won in the slowest time since the European Athletics Championships of 1950.
But Sandells, and the crowd here in Finland, will never know.
What they do know is that the champion is from Norway. He is Henrik Ingebrigsten whose timing was perfection.
He triumphed in 3:46.20 from Frenchman Florian Carvalho, in 3:46.33, with Spain's David Bustos third in 3:46.45.
It was the first time that Norway have ever won a medal at the 1500m at the European Athletics Championships, their man is 21 and the triumph will do wonders for his future.
His personal best is the national record of 3:36.39 but this was the best run of his career because it brought a major gold medal.
It was a dramatic race that also saw Austria's Andreas Vojta and Germany's Florian Orth fall.
Sandells came in last in 4:03.34 but Turkey's Ilham Tanui Ozbilen was disqualified after the race had finished for tripping him.
“I just wanted to succeed in front of my home crowd but this was the result this time,” said Sandells. “I can’t specify why I fell because everything happened so quickly.”
But it was still a race to remember for the finale as Ingebrigsten came from fourth to take the gold medal.
It seemed that victory was going the way of France as Carvalho had the lead with 50m to go.
The close up pictures told the story that probably every middle-distance runner can relate to.
He looked in control and then suddenly as the line was growing nearer, his face started to contort with pain as he could feel the pack chasing behind.
But Ingebrigsten was on the wide outside and that was key.
He had no-one to bustle through, he could time his charge just as he wanted and with every step, as Carvalho ran out of steam, Ingebrigsten was going faster.
He made it, just, while Carvalho did enough to hold on for second which he so deserved for the effort he had to go through in those last, dramatic metres.
Ingebrigsten said: “It was a typical final race, slow at the beginning, fast at the end. There was a lot of pushing in the race and the two guys who fell, fell right beside me. I got really scared but I was very lucky to avoid a collision.”
But he held on and gold was his.