Ramil Guliyev warmed up for the IAAF World Championships later this month in impressive fashion with victory on Monday (16) night – as he prepares to defend his title in Doha.
Only two men have retained the crown of world 200m champion and Turkish star Guliyev hopes to become the third after his triumph in London two years ago.
Europe’s fastest man with his 19.86 from the Diamond League in Brussels earlier this month, Guliyev treated his home crowd to another fine performance as he ran 20.08 for victory at the Gloria Cup in Antalya, a European Athletics Outdoor Area Permit meeting.
This multi-sport Gloria Cup was first staged in 2014 but this was the first year track and field was part of the programme and Guliyev made it a night to remember for his fans as he won in 20.08 from Ukraine’s Serhiy Smelyk (20.36) and the Netherlands’ Churandy Martina (20.60).
“The legs feel good and it was a good race,” said Guliyev, as reported by Inside The Games. “The race is coming, it was not the quickest but I am happy. We’ll get back to some training and be stronger for Doha.”
Guliyev will be among the favourites in Doha where he will look join American Calvin Smith, the first 200m world champion in 1983 before he won gold again in 1987, and Jamaican Usain Bolt (the champion in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015) as the only men to successfully defend this title.
And Guliyev was not the only Turkish winner at the Gloria Sports Arena as the nation celebrated two more triumphs.
European U23 champion Necati Er won the triple jump with 16.56m as he beat Azerbaijan’s Nazim Babayev (16.55m) and Finland’s Simo Lipsanen (16.48m) and there was further success in the women’s javelin as Selena Durna reached a distance of 52.69m.
Levchenko clears 1.97m in the high jump
It has been quite a year for Ukraine’s Yuliya Levchenko, who is going a long to show why she was named the European Athletics Rising Star at the Golden Track in 2017.
After winning silver at the European Indoor Championships, Levchenko retained her European U23 title before clearing a lifetime best of 2.02m to win at The Match in Minsk. Now she will head to Doha seeking more success having cleared 1.97m in Antalya ahead of teammate and training partner Iryna Herashchenko with 1.95m.
Denmark’s Sara Slott Petersen, the 2016 European 400m hurdles champion, will be looking to make an impression in Doha and her confidence will be high after beating the reigning European champion.
In a time of 55.33, Petersen did enough to hold off the challenge of Switzerland’s Lea Sprunger, who was second in 55.58, with Authorised Neutral Athlete Vera Rudakova third in 55.86.
In the men’s 400m hurdles, Timofey Chalyy won in 49.41 ahead of Estonia’s Rasmus Magi in 49.59.
Finland’s Annimari Korte, who set a national record of 12.72 in the 100m hurdles in July, took victory in 13.28 from Hungary’s Greta Kerekes in 13.34 and Ukraine’s Hanna Plotitsyna in 13.37, while the women’s 100m went the way of Belarusian Krystina Tsimanouskaya in 11.47 from Switzerland’s Salome Kora in 11.49 and Kazakhstan’s Olga Safronova in 11.58.
And in the men’s javelin, Latvian Rolands Strobinders won with 79.32m from Belarusian Aliaksei Katkavets in 78.81 and Lithuania’s Edis Matusevicius in 78.58m.
Full results here.