Denmark reach their greatest height

Stara Zagora
European Athletics

Bulgaria took second place overall on Sunday earning them promotion to the First League in 2017.

Denmark and Bulgaria secured the top two promotion spots in the European Athletics Team Championships Second League in Stara Zagora with a series of superb individual wins on Sunday.

It was the Danes finest performance in the competition as they made the second flight for the first time after being crowned champions with 224 points, while Bulgaria were runners-up with 218.

Though Cyprus with 151 and Slovenia with 127.5 finished in the bottom two, they survive the drop because there is no relegation as this Second League will now have four new teams in it via promotion to balance it out to 12.

Denmark were in the driving seat overnight as they led with 117 points from Hungary with 114.5 and Bulgaria with 108.

But spurred on as the host nation, Bulgaria made up the difference to overtake Hungary who finished third with 202.5.

This second day brought Danish victories in the men’s 800m as Andreas Bube won in 1:50.38, the 3000m with Mads Tærsbøl first in 8:29.09, the 110m hurdles as Andreas Martinsen triumphed in 13.71 and the 4x400m relay with Nicolai Hartling, Nicklas Hyde, Frederic Peschardt and Nick Ekelund-Arenander combining for glory in 3:08.01 to make it 10 wins overall.

It was a fabulous two days of consistency from the Danish team whose six victories on Saturday set up this promotion.

Bulgaria were celebrating a weekend of doubles as three of their track athletes won for the second time on Sunday.

After victory in their respective 100m races 24 hours earlier, there was no stopping Denis Dimitrov and Ivet Lalova from banking maximum points again in the 200m.

First Lalova won in 22.90 as she beat Cyprus’s Eleni Artymata in 23.60 and Lucija Pokos, of Croatia, in 24.06 before Dimitrov ran 21.38, just ahead of Hungary’s David Onodi in 21.39 and Kolbeinn Hodur Gunnarsson, of Iceland, in 21.63.

After his win in the 1500m on the first day, Mitko Tsenov struck with more glory in the 3000m steeplechase in 9:07.37.

As the meeting progressed, it became so much a battle for second place with Denmark in control at the top of the table.

The women’s 100m hurdles proved important for the hosts as Hungary’s Petra Repasi was disqualified. Bulgaria’s Elena Miteva was only fourth in 14.08 as Croatia’s Andrea Ivancevic won in 13.38 but it meant the gap was closing.

Denmark led with 135, Hungary were second with 121.5 and now Bulgaria were third 120 after 24 of the 40 events.

Amela Terzic completed a double of her own as in 4:16.13 she added the 1500m to her 800m win from the day before, a success which sent Serbia above both Hungary and Denmark into second with 129.

And then came the result of the triple jump, a vital event for Bulgaria as Georgi Tsonov won with 16.36m from Zacharias Arnos, of Cyprus, second with 15.75m, and Hungary’s David Laszlo third with 15.09m.

When Bulgaria’s women of Nadezhda Racheva, Vania Stambolova, Karin Okoliye and Katya Hristova won the 4x400m relay in 3:38.78 they were on the verge of promotion before the result of the 38th event, the women’s high jump, saw Mirela Demireva as another Bulgarian winner with 1.91m and, along with Denmark, they were on their way up to the First League.

As Hungary missed out, they did have the honour of Zoltan Kavago producing the best discus throw of the weekend from all the leagues as he won with 64.73m.