A year after Sporting Clube de Portugal had won the women’s European Champions Club Cup Group A in Birmingham by just two points from Enka, the Turkish team gained their revenge in Castellon and beat the holders by six on Sunday.
In doing so, they made a little bit of history as the first Turkish team to become Europe’s top women’s team, emulating their men’s team which won this competition in 2016 and 2018.
The first day finished close with just one point separating Sporting, leading the way on 77, and Enka, the latter having some of the earlier successes with Elif Goren winning the 400m hurdles in 58.13 and Bulgaria’s 2012 European champion Ivet Lalova-Collio, now 35, taking the 200m in 11.28.
In fact, it was not until more than two hours into the early evening Saturday action that the Portuguese team recorded their first victory as Noelie Yarigo easily won the 800m by more than three seconds in 2:04.61.
The discus was never in doubt though for Sporting as Irina Rodrigues won with 60.81m for her fifth consecutive victory in this competition.
The 3000m saw Enka bank their expected eight points from Turkey’s 2016 European 5000m and 10,000m champion Yasemin Can and although Sporting’s 2016 European half marathon champion Sara Moreira gave her a good run for her money, the three-time European cross country champion won by more than seven seconds in 8:58.77.
However, it was not long before Sporting were victorious again, with three swift back-to-back wins as Catia Azevdeo won the 400m in 52.44, Evelise Veiga won the long jump with a second round effort of 6.58m and her teammate Fancy Cherono followed up her victory in the ECCC Cross Country back in February by taking the 3000m steeplechase as she beat Enka’s Tugba Guvenec, the 2015 European U23 champion, with the pair clocking 9:39.30 and 9:40.33 respectively.
The top two in the table were the top two in a modest javelin competition, with Enka’s Selena Durna triumphant from her first and only legal throw of 53.80m to beat Sporting’s Claudia Ferreira with 50.95.
At the end of this opening day, as Helena Jiranova anchored Praha to 4x100m relay success in 45.00, Sporting led with 77 from Enka with 76. It was then a big gap to third-placed Praha with 49 and 2014-15 champions Valencia one place further back.
The first points on the board on this second day came in the 100m hurdles and a win for Valencia’s Finnish international Annimari Korte in 13.18 but Sporting knew they had one of the biggest stars of the competition in the triple jump and Patricia Mamona, the 2016 European champion, reached an impressive 14.26m in the second round to win well with Valencia’s Fatima Diame second with 13.86m.
Can made it a double for herself and Enka as she added the 1500m with a personal best of 4:16.37 and not long after, Lalova-Collio, also made it two out of two as she won the 200m in 23.10.
Spanish record holder Berta Castells finally triumphed after four consecutive second places won the hammer for Valencia with 65.67m but there was an upset in the shot as Thames Valley’s Amelia Strickler’s added 36cm to her personal best with a third round 17.83m to take top honours from Enka’s renowned Emel Dereli, who had to settle for second with 17.61m.
Sporting narrowed the gap late on the second day when Jessica Augusto, the 2010 European 10,000m silver and 5000m bronze medalist, won the shorter event by over 40 seconds in 15:54.51.
However, Enka led Sporting 126-119 going into the last event and it was going to take something extraordinary to deny them Turkey’s first ever women’s victory in this competition with just the 4x400m relay left.
Anchored by individual 400m winner Azevedo, Sporting won in 3:34.29 but Enka finished second in 3:37.24 to seal the title.
1. Enka 133
2. Sporting Clube de Portugal 127
3. Valencia Esports 102
4. USK Praha 97
5. Thames Valley Harriers 83
6. Sparta AM 68
7. JKU 60
8. Atletica Studentesca 48