Miltiádis Tentóglou stole the show on the final day of the Greek National Championships in Patra on Sunday with the second best long jump ever by a European U20 athlete, and the best by any European in 2017.
Just a month before the European Athletics U20 Championships in Grosseto, the 19-year-old engineered his brilliant talent into a fifth round leap of 8.30m (+1.8), improving his former best by 11cm.
The world U20 silver medallist from Bydgoszcz last summer now sits only behind Russia’s Sergey Morgunov, who holds the record with 8.35m from 2012, on the European U20 lists.
Tentóglou's jump is such a major step forward that not only does he lead the senior European rankings but he is also fourth on the 2017 world lists.
Louis Tsatoumas’ Greek record of 8.66m, the second best outdoor mark ever by a European, is still some way in the distance but – with his compatriot now 35 and perhaps in the twilight of his top-class career after missing all last summer due to injury – Tentoglou looks set to step into his shoes as an international championships medal contender.
Along going for gold in Grosseto, Tentóglou could also potentially now play a big part at the IAAF World Championships in London in August.
It was a day when Tentoglou arguably outshone Greece’s number one athlete, 2016 Olympic and European pole vault champion Ekaterini Stefanidi, who was looking to break her national record of 4.86m.
She cleared 4.60m, 4.71m and 4.81m first time but with tricky, windy conditions, she could not make it over at 4.91m.
Grosseto is hotting up to be a fantastic championships and on a memorable weekend for U20 athletes, Great Britain’s Alicia Barrett, 19, broke the national U20 100m hurdles record when she ran 13.07 in the heats before matching it in the final at the England U20/U23 Championships in Bedford.
Germany will be looking for maximum points from Rio 2016 Olympic Games javelin champion Thomas Röhler at this weekend’s Super League European Athletics Team Championships in Lille and he warmed up in fine fashion in Kuortane, Finland, on Saturday.
Rohler, the world one this year with 93.90m, won with 84.71m from fellow German Johannes Vetter, who was second with 83.70m, while local hero and 2007 world champion Tero Pitkamaki was third with 83.17m.
Another man preparing for Lille, Poland’s 2016 European indoor champion Piotr Lisek, will also head to France on the back of a confidence-boosting victory after winning at the Pila Street Pole Vault with 5.80m – he failed at 5.90m – from countryman and former world champion Pawel Wojciechowski, who was second with 5.70m.
Czech Republic’s Romana Malacova equalled her personal best of 4.55m to take the women’s honours.
It was a good weekend for Czech heptathletes as well as Katerina Cachova led a Czech Republic one-two in front of their home fans at the famous TNT Express meeting in Kladno.
Cachova improved her personal best score by nine points to 6337 to beat teammate Eliska Klucinova, who was second with a tally of 6285.
In Bad Langensalza, top German heptathlete Claudia Salman-Rath showed her individual skills in the famous long jump meeting where she won an entertaining and close women’s competition with 6.69m from teammates Sosthene Moguenara and Alexandra Wester, who were second and third with 6.61m and 6.58m respectively.
European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen and IAAF Vice President Sergey Bubka were among the guests in Samorin, Slovakia, on Saturday for 52nd PTS Meeting, where Poland´s top hammer throwers went through their paces and emerged triumphant.
Pawel Fajdek triumphed with 78.67m and Anita Wlodarczyk was first with 75.45m, to extend their winning streaks to eight and 36 competitions respectively. Indeed, Wlodarczyk’s last defeat came almost three years ago to the day on 16 June 2014.