What they said in Sopot

THE WEEKEND WATCH - What they said in Sopot
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Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic ran a terrific 400m race to claim gold at the IAAF World Championships in Sopot on Saturday 8 March.

It was a weekend to remember for European athletes as they celebrated 10 gold medals at the IAAF World Championships.

Here is what the champions thought of their success as they reflected on their glory in Sopot.

Nadine Broersen, of the Netherlands, was Europe's first winner - infact the first gold medallist of the championships - when she won the women's pentathlon with 4830 points and said: "My head is like a rollercoaster. I did not expect this at all. I started combined events only in 2009 and I am just so happy."

Richard Kilty, of Great Britain, was the shock winner of the men's 60m as he triumphed in 6.49, a personal best performance and he was almost lost for words.

"I am stunned, I cannot believe it," said Kilty. "I felt I could get close to 6.50. Some people had told me that I should be happy to be here and I felt like an underdog. Nobody was thinking about me as a favourite, so I showed them they were all wrong."

Gold in the women's high jump became a celebration for the home nation as Poland's Kamila Licwinko shared the title with Russia's Mariya Kuchina as they both had the same record after clearing 2.00m.

Licwinko equalled her national record and said: "My husband/coach forced me to do a lot of hard work and improved my technique, which is why I dedicate this medal to him. I didn't know after 2.00m that I was tied with Maria and I did not expect a jump-off. I didn't feel capable of jumping again; the emotion was too much for me. Maria felt the same, so after a conversation, we decided not to continue."

Kuchina said: "When the competition was over, I thought I was second. I was dreaming about a medal but gold is something special to me. There is a big target in the summer, the European Athletics Championship in Zurich."

Her Russian teammate Yekaterina Koneva also had gold around her neck after winning the women's triple jump with 14.46m - and she was left knowing she can go further. Koneva said: "I came here not only to fight for the medal but also to attack 15.00m, but I do not know what happened. We will celebrate victory, but we will not be happy because of the performance."

Sweden's European Athletics Indoor champion and outdoor World champion Abeba Aregawi was, once more, sensational as she won the women's 1500m crown by over six seconds in 4:00.61 and she said: "I am very happy. I had prepared well and I succeeded."

Konstadinos Filippidis won the men's pole vault as he cleared 5.80m and he was delighted for Greece. He said: "This gold medal is good for Greek athletics and my country. I am sure people are happy with my performance. Many times you arrive in good shape but you don't perform as well in competitions."

Pavel Maslak, of the Czech Republic, charged home to triumph in the men's 400m in 45.24 - a national record - and he will use his success for the summer ahead where he will bid to defend his European 400m title in Zurich.

Maslak said: "This will bring me big motivation for outdoor competitions. The national record is like a bonus for me but the most important thing was to win."

Eloyse Lesueur won the women's long jump with 6.85m and said: "It took me a while to realise I am the champion. Now is the time to rest and focus on the European Athletics Championships."

Russia were Europe's leading nation with three golds, the last of those being won by Lyukman Adams with a world-leading 17.37m in the men's triple jump, the start of a fabulous few weeks for him.

"It is a surprise because I had a difficult time last year," said Adams. "After the Olympics (in 2012) I broke a bone in my foot and it happened again last year. I only started to train again in November, so I did not know if I was ready to perform at the top level. In two months, I will become a father - and it will be a son."

THE WEEK AHEAD

Saturday - Sunday - 14th European Cup Winter Throwing (Leiria).

Sunday - 10th International Tarsus Half Marathon (Mersin), EDP Half Marathon of Lisbon (Lisbon), International and National Marathon G.S.O (Lemesos), Lugano Trophy - 12th Memorial Mario Albisetti (Lugano), Monaco Run 10km+ Vintimille-Monaco (Monaco), Zurich Marato de Barcelona (Barcelona).