Age is no handicap for Donato in Ancona

Fabrizio Donato in Ancona
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Fabrizio Donato returned from injury to win his 23rd title at the Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona at the age of 41

Places on national teams for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham from 1-4 March were the target at the national championships this weekend and in the second our two round ups, here are some of the majors stories from Europe this weekend.

23 titles and counting for Donato

Age has never been a problem for Fabrizio Donato and at the age of 41, he is the national indoor triple jump champion again.

In Ancona on Sunday, Donato won with a leap of 16.94m on his season’s debut to bank the 23rd national senior title of his career. Donato claimed his first indoor title all the way back in 1998.

It will be nine years next month since Donato won gold at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Turin and he will head to Birmingham next week looking for another major medal having won a European indoor silver medal in Belgrade last year. 

“This victory has a special flavour because I have come back after a serious injury that has risked putting my career in the balance. I wanted to challenge myself and luckily the results proved me right this time too,” Donato told sportface.it.

“I have everything that life can give me: my triple jump, my family. Athletics is my world that excites me, so I fight and it makes me alive. As long as I have energy in my body, I will continue to do so because all of this is simply fantastic.” 

At the opposing end of the career spectrum, Vladimir Aceti was one of Italy’s star performers last summer, winning the 400m and 4x400m titles at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Grosseto. Still a teenager, he claimed the senior title in the 400m in 46.95.

There was also a world-leading performance from world 20km race walk bronze medallist Antonella Palmisano who won the 3000m race walk in a world-leading 11:55.30. 

Manga defeats Martinot-Lagarde; another title for Lavillenie

The French run of success in the men’s 60m hurdles is outstanding and now they have a new name heading to Birmingham looking to join their growing list of medallists. 

His name is Aurel Manga and at the French Indoor Championships in Lievin on Saturday, he stopped the clock at a lifetime best of 7.53 to defeat former European indoor champion Pascal Martinot-Lagarde by 0.01. 

The World Indoor Championships will be a big aim for Renaud Lavillenie after injury forced him out of the European Indoor Championships last year when he was chasing a fifth successive title. His target in Birmingham will be a third world title and he is heading there after beating younger brother Valentin to claim his 14th domestic title.

Renaud, who has already cleared 5.90m this year, went over at 5.83m on the third attempt after securing the title at 5.78m before three failures at a prospective world-leading height of 5.93m. Valentin was second with 5.72m. 

Former world indoor champion Eloyse Lesueur-Aymono won the long jump with 6.69m and European U20 champion Martin Lamou won the triple jump with a lifetime best of 16.89m. 

Mechaal claims a 1500/3000m double

It was a great weekend in Valencia for Adel Mechaal, the reigning European indoor 3000m champion, as he banked an improbable double at the Spanish Indoor Championships. 

At 8.25pm on Saturday, Mechaal crossed the line in 8:19.87 to win a tactical 3000m and he hardly had time to warm down before he was back in action again at 8.56pm to win his 1500m semifinal in 3:45.90. He duly claimed his second title the following day in 3:43.10.

Former world U20 champion Ana Peleteiro won the triple jump with 14.22m while European-leader Alvaro de Arriba won the 800m in 1:50.19. 

And although it is no longer a medal event at the World Indoor Championships, Oscar Husillos broke the Spanish indoor 200m record with 20.68 in the semifinal on the Saturday before winning the final in 20.69. Husillos will contest the 400m at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham. 

Sprunger breaks Swiss 200m record

Three days after breaking Anita Protti’s 26-year-old Swiss indoor 400m record, Lea Sprunger improved the 20-year-old Swiss indoor 200m record on the second day of the Swiss Indoor Championships in Magglingen.

Sprunger stopped the clock at a European-leading mark of 22.88, the second Swiss sprint record of the championships after Mujinga Kambundji’s 7.03 performance in the 60m. 

Stanek goes out 21.59m in Prague

Tomas Stanek holds the world-leading mark in the shot put with 22.17m and the world fourth-placer delivered another big throw at the Czech Indoor Championships in Prague, reaching out to 21.59m. 

Another athlete with title aspirations next month is Pavel Maslak who will be chasing a third successive world indoor 400m title. Maslak prepared for Birmingham with victory over 200m in 20.90, a good test of speed for what lies ahead next week. Another highlight was Klara Seidlova winning the 60m title in a Czech record of 7.23.

Talay and Nedasekau impress in Mogilyov

Experience prevailed at the Belarusian Indoor Championships in Mogilyov with Alina Talay winning the 60m hurdles title in 7.91 ahead of reigning world U20 100m hurdles champion Elvira Herman in 8.05. 

European U20 champion Maksim Nedasekau cleared 2.31m to claim the high jump title, the second best jump of his young career, and Olympic marathon sixth-placer Volha Mazuronak won the 3000m in 9:11.68. 

Baji wins Hungarian 60m hurdles title

World 110m hurdles bronze medallist Balazs Baji clocked 7.60 to win the 60m hurdles at the Hungarian Indoor Championships in Budapest. There was also a good quality women’s 60m hurdles with Greta Kerekes clocking 8.07 to Luca Kozak’s 8.09.

Visser and Braun claim individual Dutch titles  

Nadine Visser, the European U23 100m hurdles champion, won the 60m hurdles title in 8.03 ahead of Eefje Boons (8.21) with European heptathlon champion Anouk Vetter third with 8.31. Fellow multi-eventer Pieter Braun won the long jump title with 7.47m.

Foster sets Irish 60m record

Amy Foster won a high quality 60m final at the Irish Indoor Championships in Abbotstown in a national record of 7.27 ahead of Joan Healy (7.31) and Ciara Neville (7.35). Phil Healy, sister of the silver medallist in the 60m, won the 400m title in 53.10.