The review of European performances at the world championships in Moscow continues with the sixth and most successful day of competition for European athletes.
Day Six, Thursday August 15 Europe at its best
This day offered medal prospects for European athletes, but no-one could have predicted that it would be one of Europe’s greatest in world championship history. The Luzhniki Stadium witnessing the crowning glory of the competitors who would be European Athletics’ Male and Female Athletes of the Year and its male Rising Star of 2013.
Bohdan Bondarenko and Zuzana Hejnova put the gloss on their amazing summers with victories in the high jump and 400m hurdles respectively while Serbia’s Emir Bekric, the European Under-23 400m hurdles champion, won bronze with a national record.
Ukrainian Bondarenko had already written himself into the record books by jumping 2.41m in Lausanne the month before. It took him to third-equal on the all-time world lists and he repeated the height in Moscow to win gold from Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Derek Drouin of Canada.
Having broken the championship record of 2.40m which Javier Sotomayor had set in Stuttgart in 1993, Bondarenko then went for the Cuban’s world record of 2.45m from that same year. And while he failed to master 2.46m this time, it took nothing away from his triumph. It was a magnificent performance and the record is within his reach.
Hejnova, of the Czech Republic had remained unbeaten all year, showing panache to go with the power as she soared to endless victories. She secured the world title with another flowing performance, taking gold in style, too, in a national record and world lead of 52.83 from Dalilah Muhammad, second in 54.09, with Lashinda Demus, of the USA, third in 54.27.
Her dominance was complete as she kept her closest opponent more than a full second away. She seems to be in control of all the elements of her discipline and will look to carry this streak into 2014.
Bekric, 22, one of the best young talents in the sport, followed his European Athletics Under-23 glory in Tampere the previous month by taking third in Moscow in 48.05 to further enhance his reputation.
Europe won three golds on this evening with Abeba Aregawi maintaining her magnificent form to triumph in the 1500m.
Having won the European Athletics Indoor title in Göteborg in March when she represented Sweden for the first time at a Championship, she had built on that success during the summer and all the way to Russia. In Moscow, she was in command again, not giving away too much in the early stages of the race, staying in the pack before making her move with 300m to go.
It was here that Aregawi showed what a superb, strong athlete she is by holding off the challenge of American Jennifer Simpson to win by 0.32 in 4:02.67.
It was not just a day of gold for Europe either.
In the women’s triple jump, Columbia’s Caterine Ibarguen won with 14.85m, but Russia’s Ekaterina Koneva was second with 14.81m followed by Olha Saladuha of the Ukraine with 14.65m and all three medallists achieved these best jumps in the second round.
A double European champion and double Olympic silver medallist, Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, of France, added to Europe’s medal haul by repeating his Daegu bronze from 2011, finishing in 8:07.86 behind a Kenyan one-two of Ezekiel Kemboi, who won in 8:06.01, and Conseslus Kipruto, who was second in 8:06.37.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
I did not expect to win with such a good result. It does not matter that I did not break the world record, because I have already won the world title.