A look back at last week's European Athletics Classic Meetings

Anne Zagré
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Belgium's Anne Zagré finished fourth in the 100m hurdles at the 2014 European Athletics Championships in Zurich.

Zagre in sparkling form

How fitting that a former European junior gold medallist should take her career to a new level just as this year’s championships were taking place.

But that was the case for Belgium’s Anne Zagre at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden as she broke the national 100m hurdles record with an impressive victory in 12.71.

Zagre, 25, beat Americans Lolo Jones, the double world indoor 60m hurdles champion, who was second (12.92), and Jackie Coward, third (12.97).

Her run was among the best at the meeting and came six years after her success at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Novi Sad where she won in 13.21.

Fourth in Zurich at last summer’s European Athletics Championships (12.89), Zagre is really in good form heading towards next month’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

It was a good meeting for the rest of her Belgium teammates as they produced solid performances.

Kevin Borlée was third in the 400m in a season’s best (45.24) as Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago won (44.99), and as Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel won the 5000m (13:05.38), Bashir Abdi’s 13:06.10 was the second fastest by a European in 2015. Back in seventh, Great Britain’s Tom Farrell ran a personal best time (13:10.48).

In the 200m, Jonathan Borlée won in a season’s best 20.45 from Kenya’s Mike Mokamba (20.68) and Mario Forsythe, of Jamaica (20.87).

Victory in the pole vault went to Russia’s Anzhelika Sidorova who beat Sandi Morris, of the USA, on countback at the height of 4.76m.

They both cleared it at the second attempt but fouled at 4.81m and the rest of their records were identical, except for the height of 4.71m which Sidorova cleared first time but Morris did not before moving on to 4.76m.

British 1500m runners both had personal bests in the two races. As Morocco’s Fouad El Kamm won the ‘A’ race (3:34.53), Charlie Brice was second (3:35.29) and in the ‘B’ race, Chris O’Hare, the European bronze medallist indoors and out won (3:34.83).

No stopping Blair-Sanford

Israel's Donald Blair-Sanford on his way to 400m bronze at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich 2014.
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Israel's Donald Blair-Sanford on his way to 400m bronze at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich 2014.

The 57th edition of the Znamenskiy Memorial in Zhukovsky proved to be a great occasion for Israel’s Donald Blair-Sanford. 

A year ago in Zurich, Blair-Sanford ran a national record (45.27) for bronze at the European Athletics Championships and now he has lowered that time again, winning in a meeting record (45.05).

Fresh from his victory in 45.75 at the European Games in Baku in June, Sanford took that performance up a notch with Russia’s Denis Kudryavtsev, who also won bronze in Zurich in the 400m hurdles bronze, second in a personal best (45.86) with teammate Pavel Trenikhin third (45.91).

Belarusian Konstantin Barycheuski moved to ninth in this year’s European Athletics rankings with a superb long jump (8.17m).

His series began with 8.02m before his best jump of the night in the second round which was then followed by an 8.11m to confirm the consistency of his form as he beat Russia’s Sergey Polyanskiy in second (8.04m), and Aleksandr Petrov in third (7.98m).

Along with Barycheuski, Belarus had three more winners.

Alena Abramchuk took the shot put (17.90m) as she beat Russia’s Irina Tarasova, the European silver medallist in 2012 (17.84m), while Ekaterina Poplauskaya won the 100m hurdles (13.36) and Dariya Barysevich triumphed in the 1500m (4:13.86).

At the European Athletics Team Championships in Cheboksary in June, Valentin Smirnov won the 1500m but this time Ukrainian Stanislav Maslov, who was fifth then, had too much for him as he won (3:42.26) with the Russian having to settle for second place (3:42.61).

Russia’s Kristina Koroleva produced a personal best (1.90m) to win the high hump and in the 800m, Ukraine’s Olena Sidorska ran 2:03.35 to beat Belarusian Volha Rulevich (2:03.74) and Russian Oksana Spasovkhodskaya (2:03.78).

There were Russian titles at stake in the 10,000m where in the men’s race, Anatoliy Rybakov was crowned champion as he won (28:22.01) from Dmitriy Safronov (28:23.71) and Stepan Kiselev (28:44.76). In the women’s, Natalya Popkova was first (32:25.22) from Yelena Nagovitsyna (32:26.28) and Valentina Galimova (32:27.19).