The highlight of Day One at the European Athletics Team Championships First League in Tallinn, Estonia, came in the women’s discus when Zinaida Sendriuté of Lithuania established a new record for the competition of 65.83m. That erased the previous best by 0.08 of none other than Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic of Croatia from Kaunas last year.
Sendriuté’s record heave came in the fourth and final round after two previous valid throws in the 56m range.
The second high point came when Hungary’s Krisztián Pars established a new European Athletics Team Championships record by claiming a record fifth win. That makes him the competition’s outright most successful performer.
But it was not quite the performance expected as he could manage no better than a modest – for him - 75.26 in the final round. In second place Primož Kozmus of Slovenia set a season’s best of 73.02 and had the satisfaction of coming within touching distance of Pars until that final round throw.
In his press conference the previous day, Pars had hinted that it might not be a day for big throws since he was not familiar with the circle and only had four throws to play with. But it was also unseasonably cold at 14 degrees Celsius.
One of the races of the afternoon for the home crowd came in the men’s 400m hurdles when Thomas Barr of Ireland and the host country’s Rasmus Mägi had a titanic battle down the home straight with the Irishman prevailing in 49.30 a metre ahead of the Estonian champion.
That represents Barr’s second fastest time ever after his national record of 48.90 one week ago. Given the difficult conditions it was an impressive performance.
As expected the sprint duo of Jaysuma Saidy Ndure and Ezinne Okparaebo scooped full points for Norway in the 100m. Ndure clocked a respectable 10.12 while Okparaebo just squeezed home in 11.4. Just 0.06 behind and roared on by the crowd was local favourite and former European Indoor long jump champion, Kseniya Balta who has set two national 100m records so far this summer.
Romania’s Angela Morosanu was a cut above the rest in the women’s 400m hurdles coming home unchallenged in 56.70. Despite the stiff headwind down the back straight she built up an unassailable lead and held it to the finish.
Paul Robinson of Ireland bided his time until the last 100m to secure a tactical victory in the 1500m in 3:51.05 while in the women’s 800m Maryna Arzamasova of Belarus led from gun to tape in 2:00.95.
2012 European triple jump silver medallist, Patricia Mamona went out to 14.26 to secure full points for Portugal while in the 3000m compatriot Sara Moreira won as she pleased in 9:07.14.
Greece’s Louis Tsatoumas equalled his season’s best with an excellent 8.25 in the long jump albeit with a favourable breeze of over three metres at his back. All of his three valid jumps were over the 8 metre mark.
Ndure probably thought he was on his way to the triple when he produced a storming run to clinch victory in the final event of the day in the sprint relay.
But as things turned out in heat one the Portuguese quartet, with 35 year old Francis Obikwelu on the second leg, produced the fastest time of 39.60 to take the honours.
At the end of proceedings on day one Finland leads the standings with 161 points, 4,5 points ahead of Belarus and 5,5 of Romania in third.