Kalle Berglund broke the Swedish 1500m record for the second time in less than a fortnight as home athletes took centre stage at the Folksam Grand Prix in Gothenburg, a European Athletics Classic Permit Meeting, on Friday (16) evening.
Having run 3:36.07 in Bern earlier this month to break the long-standing national record, Berglund lowered that mark by more than one second to 3:34.89. Backed by a noisy crowd and in good conditions, Berglund, 23, bided his time until moving to another gear with 200m left.
He had stayed just behind Morocco’s Hicham Oueladha who had no response when Berglund went past him and impressively increased his speed on the home straight to move into the top 10 on the 2019 European list.
“I felt in Bern, when I had to run the last 700 myself, that I could have run faster, so it was nice to get to it properly. I've had this capacity for a while. So to get this in Gothenburg for the home crowd, it was wonderful!” he told SVT.
Oueladha was second in 3:35.70 with Australian Matthew Ramsden third in 3:37.19.
It has been a superb month for Berglund, who also holds the Swedish 1500m indoor record (3:37.69) and will surely look to increase his outdoor time even more at the IAAF World Championships in Doha which start in six weeks. His next race will be over 1500m in the Birmingham Diamond League on Sunday afternoon followed by the all-important Finnkampen in Stockholm the following weekend.
One of Sweden’s major hopes for gold in Doha will be European pole vault champion Armand Duplantis and he did not disappoint the fans at the Slottsskogsvallen Stadium.
Though he could not match his season’s best of 6.00m – he missed out on his three attempts at that – he was the clear winner with a meeting record of 5.90m from Ernest John Obiena (5.60m), of the Philippines, and fellow Swede Melker Svard Jacobsson (5.50m, on countback).
“I mostly just tried to find a good rhythm today and I am happy with 5.90m,” said Duplantis.
After winning silver in the long jump at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March, Sweden’s Thobias Montler sustained a mid-season knee injury this summer but he showed he is back with a good victory. Having cleared 7.97m in the second round, he finished by reaching a wind-aided 8.17m (+3.1) with his last effort to beat teammate Michel Torneus (7.64m) and Latvia’s Janis Leitis (7.57m).
"It's extremely nice to jump eight meters," he said. "It feels like I'm almost back where I left off."
And there was more success for Sweden in the shot put as Fanny Roos hit a distance of 18.64m with her first-round effort which proved enough for victory from US athlete Jessica Woodard (18.39m) and Germany’s Sara Gambetta (18.32m). Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Mesud Pezer won the men’s event with 20.68m from Sweden’s Wictor Petterson (20.43m) with Norwegian Marcus Thomsen, (20.28m).
Shara Proctor has a fine record of podium success and last year’s European long jump bronze medallist led a British one-two as she beat Jazmin Sawyers, 6.56m to 6.44m.
The opening field event saw Poland’s Malwina Kopron in outstanding form as her four legal throws in the hammer were all over 70m. She started with 70.28m, followed by 70.04m and 71.26m before two fouls ahead of her best of 71.37m to beat US athlete Janeah Stewart (68.54m) and Authorised Neutral Athlete Sofiya Palkina (68.12m).
With Daniel Stahl a late withdrawal due to a groin injury, Norway’s Ola Stunes Isene won the discus with a second-round best of 64.87m ahead of Estonia’s Martin Kupper (63.82m) and Germany’s David Wrobel (63.12m), with more success for the nation in the women’s 800m won by Hedda Hynne (2:01.32) as Poland’s Mateusz Borkowski (1:46.33) took the men’s race.
As the Netherlands’ Lisanne de Witte won the 400m in 52.27 and Authorised Neutral Athlete Valeriya Andreyeva won the women's 400m hurdles in 56.55, Britain’s 2010 European and 2011 world 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene was happy to be back racing in the men's 400m hurdles.
Returning from injury, Greene was second in a season’s best of 50.05 behind Algeria's Abdelmalik Lahoulou (49.66) and with the national trials in Birmingham next weekend, he will be hopeful of a late shout for Doha.
“Nice to be back racing competitively despite being rough over the hurdles. Been a tough two months. Hip and hammy are getting there. I’m sure they’ll be better still for next week. Roll on trials,” tweeted Greene.