Diniz breaks French record with Zurich on his mind

Diniz breaks French record with Zurich on his mind
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France's Yohann Diniz receives his 50km walk gold medal from the 2010 European Athletics Championships in Barcelona.

Yohann Diniz showed on Sunday the extent of his outstanding preparations in his bid to win a hat-trick of 50km race walking titles at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in August.

It might have been at less than half the distance he will compete over in Switzerland and on a different surface too, but in Bogny-Sur-Meuse, Diniz broke a French record that has stood for 22 years.

His victory in 1:19:42.1 overtook the mark of 1:21:14.9 that Thierry Toutain had achieved back in 1992 for the 20,000km track walking record, proving the level of form he is in as Zurich draws nearer.

Diniz will need both this sort of speed combined with his endurance if he is to retain a title he won when the event was last staged at the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona in 2010.

He triumphed then in 3:40:37, having first won the title in Gothenburg in 2006 in 3:41:39.

It was another good weekend for European athletes, with standards reaching a high level in Wroclaw at the exhibition event on Saturday where athletes throw over the Odra River.

Poland’s Joanna Fiodorow and Anita Wlodarczyk had a fine day as they both finished ahead of Russia’s Olympic and double World champion Tatyana Lysenko.

Fiodorow won with 70.67m from Wlodarczyk with 69.32m and Lysenko in third with 69.16m.

Even though the event was delayed by rain, Hungary’s Olympic and defending European hammer champion Krisztian Pars flexed his muscles in style as he won with 80.49m, the second best throw in the world this year, beating Poland’s World champion Pawel Fajdek, who had a best of 78.34m.

There was another good result for Poland’s men in the discus as Piotr Malachowski’s 64.36m was enough to beat Estonia’s 2008 Olympic champion Gerd Kanter, who had a best of 63.54m.

If Poland’s throwers excelled in Wroclaw, their distance runners were impressive in the Bahamas where the IAAF staged its first World Relays.

In the men’s 4x800m, Karol Konieczny, Szymon Krawczyk, Marcin Lewandowski and Adam Kszczot combined for a national record of 7:08.69 as they finished second behind Kenya in 7:08.40, with the USA third in 7:09.06.

The French men’s quartet of Christophe Lemaitre, Yannick Fonsat, Ben Bassaw and Ken Romain made the European record books as they joined forces in the 4x200m for an area best of 1:20.66 and second place as Jamaica won in a world record of 1:18.63 with Saint Kitts and Nevis third in 1:20.51.

Russia’s women took bronze in the 4x800m as Irina Maracheva, Elena Kobeleva, Tatyana Myazina and Svetlana Rogozina produced a time of 8:08.19 but the opposition was tough as the USA won with 8:01.58, with Moscow bronze medallist Brenda Martinez on the last lap while Kenya, who were second with 8:04.28, had World champion Eunice Jepkoech Sum as their anchor runner.

Britain’s women of Desiree Henry, Anyika Onuora, Bianca Williams and Asha Philip were second in a national record of 1:29.61 in the 4x200m relay, won by the USA in 1:29.45, before the British men ended the event with third in the 4x100m in 39.19, as World Indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, James Ellington and Dwain Chambers took bronze behind Jamaica, anchored by Yohan Blake, in 37.77, and Trinidad & Tobago in 38.04.

One young sprinter to watch out for in the years ahead is Damian Sztejkowski, 14, who, in Slubice on Saturday, became the first Polish under-15 to break 11 seconds as he ran 10.88.

In Salzburg, Austria's Beate Schrott opened her season with 13.14 as she won the 100m hurdles at the 2nd Salzburg International meeting while in Ingolstadt, Germany's Jenny Elbe's 14.01 triple jump personal best was above the Zurich standard of 13.95m, with her +2.1 windy 14.24m bringing victory.

Christelle Daubery, France's marathon world record-holder, won the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half marathon in 1:09:17 and at the Bupa London 10,000m, Andy Vernon won the men's race in 29:33 and Gemma Steel took the women's event in 32:53.

Portugal had a superb day at the Vienna 5km Women's Run as Ana Dulce-Felix, in 15:42, beat Sara Moreira in 15:50, and in Thessaloniki, Giorgos Tremos threw a personal best of 63.00m at the Memorial Kostadinos Spanidis to achieve the Zurich standard of 62.30m.

But in Millau, there was disappointment for the 2010 European decathlon champion Romain Barras who was competing in his decathlon since 2011.

The Frenchman ran 11.48 in the 100m but then did not carry on for health reasons.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Europe is staging 69 meetings this week and for all the dates, visit our European Athletics Calendar