There are nineteen events to complete tomorrow afternoon in Vaasa - and less than twenty points separate the top five countries in the standings - but Switzerland have put themselves in a fine position to gain promotion into the European Athletics Team Championships Super League for the first time.
Meanwhile, there were exciting performances in Tel Aviv and Malta at the Second and Third Leagues, for which the first-day results and standings can be found here:
The Swiss had a brilliant day on the track with six wins which puts them top of the standings ahead of the final day at the European Athletics Team Championships First League in Vaasa with 175 points ahead of Turkey (172 points) and Sweden (162 points).
Petra Fontanive opened their account on the track with victory in the 400m hurdles in 55.55 ahead of Norway’s Amalie Iuel (55.68) while Lea Sprunger followed suit in the 400m flat in 51.61. Mujinga Kambundji claimed victory in the women’s 100m in 11.45 but Switzerland did squander a handful in the men’s 100m after Pascal Mancini was disqualified for a false start.
Turkey led the standings for most of the day but the Swiss finished with a flourish, winning the last three events on the track: Fabienne Schlumpf won the 3000m steeplechase in 9:38.08 and their men’s and women’s relay teams triumphed in 39.65 and 43.77 respectively.
Nicole Buchler also claimed a full brace of points for Switzerland, clearing 4.55m on her third attempt before three tries at 4.70m.
Proud captain of the team. We are leading before the final day! Good results and fight from everybody. Let's get some more points pic.twitter.com/FMHLmiOOZv
— Lea Sprunger (@LeaSprunger) June 24, 2017
But Turkey are still only three points behind Switzerland and they have some strong events to come tomorrow, including the men’s 200m featuring Ramil Guliyev. Ali Kaya won the 5000m today in a European Team Championships record of 13:36.75 and he will be back in action tomorrow in the 3000m where a long distance double beckons.
However, the standout performance of the day came in the first track event of the day with Norway’s Karsten Warholm winning the 400m hurdles in another championship record of 48.46 - the second fastest time of his career - ahead of European champion and Olympic bronze medallist Yasmani Copello (49.17) and 2014 European champion Kariem Hussein from Switzerland (49.30).
“It was a really good technical race. It was a good choice to run smart and controlled yesterday. It was nice to run from my favourite lane (lane 7),” said Warholm, alluding to lane seven which was also the lane he was granted at the Bislett Games in Oslo where he ran his Norwegian record of 48.25.
Norway are currently fifth in the standings with 158 points but their promotion prospects took a sizeable hit at the start of the day when European champion Filip Ingebrigtsen pulled out of the 1500m and Jakob Ingebrigtsen also withdrew from the 5000m due to travel problems.
Tomas Stanek equalled the championship record in the shot put with 21.63m in Lille but Portugal’s Tsanko Arnaudov also approached that mark in Vaasa. In the second round, he went out to 21.56m to add 48 centimetres to his national record and move to second on the European rankings.
Sweden were relegated from the Super League two years ago but they finish the second day within ten points of the promotion places. Michel Torneus won the long jump with 7.85m while in-form Lovisa Lindh won the 800m in 2:02.36 ahead of Switzerland’s Selina Buchel (2:02.85).
The hosts also had a victory to cheer in the men’s hammer as 37-year-old David Soberberg went out to 72.36m ahead of Turkey’s Esref Apak with 71.53m. Finland are just one point behind Sweden in the team standings and a full brace of points in the javelin from Tero Pitkamaki will undoubtedly boost their promotion prospects.
Other noteworthy performances included Tihomir Ivanov from Bulgaria clearing a lifetime best of 2.30m in the high jump while Estonia’s Liina Laasma went out to 57.93m in the last round of the javelin to defeat world-leader Eda Tugsuz from Turkey.