Marton celebrates Olympic bronze

Marton celebrates Olympic bronze
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Hungary's Anita Marton won the first European medal in athletics with shot put bronze.

Hungary's Anita Marton is Europe's first track and field medallist of these Olympic Games - and she produced a national record to go with her bronze success in the shot put.

On the opening evening of the programme in Rio, Marton, 27, the European indoor champion, saved her best for last as she reached a distance of 19.87m.

A month ago, Marton won silver at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam behind Christina Schwanitz but this time she was always in front of the German.

Schwanitz had four fouls and ended with a best of 19.03m from the first round as she finished in sixth in a competition where American Michelle Carter won gold with a final round 20.63m, denying New Zealand's Valerie Adams (20.42m) a hat-trick of Olympic titles.

Marton grew into the event in superb style, after starting with 17.60m and then following it with 18.72m. Her third round 19.39m brought her level in third place with China's Lijiao Gong, and that would have been enough for bronze on countback had she not ended in style, having also had efforts of 19.38m and 19.10m.

The heptathlon is thrillingly poised after a series of amazing performances - and it is Great Britain's defending champion Jessica Ennis-Hill who leads the way with 4057 points from Belgium's Nafissatou Thiam (3985) and Akela Jones (3964), of Barbados.

Ennis-Hill's teammate Katarina Johnson-Thompson (3957) is in fourth with European champion Anouk Vetter (3829), of the Netherlands, in seventh.

As she did in London four years ago, Ennis-Hill took command after the opening event, the 100m hurdles, where she was the quickest with 12.84 before an extraordinary high jump competition.

In that she cleared 1.89m - her best mark since she returned to the sport last year after becoming a mum - but it became an amazing duel between Thiam and Johnson-Thompson who took the discipline to a new level.

Thiam first broke the world record for a heptathlon high jump when she went over at 1.98m (the old mark was 1.97m) and Johnson-Thompson followed suit with her second attempt, in the process breaking the overall national record.

It took the Briton into the first place at the end of the morning session before the shot put which was won by Thiam (14.91m) with Ennis-Hill achieving a best of 13.86m and Johnson-Thompson reaching 11.68m.

KJT managed the leading points in the final event, the 200m, where she won the last heat in 23.26 from Ennis-Hill in 23.49 ahead of what should be a fascinating second day.

Ennis-Hill told British Athletics: "It is always nice to be leading after the first day, but those girls have big jumps in the long jump and they can all run good 800s, so it will be a challenging day tomorrow. I just want to put all the pieces together, rest up and come back stronger."

Four years ago in London, on what became known as Super Saturday, Ennis-Hill won gold in the same hour as teammates Greg Rutherford (long jump) and Mo Farah (10,000m).

A repeat is still on as they are all in action in Rio tonight (or the early hours of the morning CET) but only after a scare for Rutherford in qualifying after two fouls.

He made it through with his final attempt of 7.90m and said: "It was more frustration than anything else, but equally going into the final round I definitely wasn’t as stressed as my family were at home. You draw on all the experiences that you have had."

Poland's European discus champion Piotr Malachowski (65.89m) progressed to today's final with the best distance in qualifying while teammate and world No. 1 Anita Wlodarczyk was equally dominant in the hammer qualifying which she topped with 76.93m.

As Ethiopian Almaz Ayana sensationally smashed the 23-year-old 10,000m world record by 14 seconds to win gold in 29:17.45, Turkey's Yasemin Can, the European champion, was the first European home in a personal best of 30:26.41 in seventh and a few weeks away from her 43rd birthday, Britain's Jo Pavey was 15th (31:33.44).

In the final of the 20km walk won by China's Zhen Wang (1:19:14), Germany's Christopher Linke (1:20:00) was Europe's leading man in fifth, a place ahead of Britain's Tom Bosworth (1:20:13) who broke the national record.

In the final event of the first day, double European champion Dafne Schippers, of the Netherlands, progressed through from the first round heats of the 100m by winning her race in 11.16, with the fastest European being Britain's Desiree Henry (11.08). Jamaica's defending champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was quickest overall in 10.96.

TODAY'S FINALS (ALL TIMES CET)

3.50pm - Men's discus

1.53am (Sunday) - Men's Long jump

2.27am (Sunday) - Men's 10,000m

3.37am (Sunday) - Women's 100m

3.50am (Sunday)- heptathlon, 800m