Sclabas concludes glittering U20 track career with 1500m gold

Delia Sclabas
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Switzerland's Delia Sclabas celebrates winning gold in the 1500m at the Boras 2019 European Athletics U20 Championships

Racing for the fifth time in the championships, Switzerland’s Delia Sclabas won the 1500m title at the Boras 2019 European Athletics U20 Championships one day after silver in the 800m.

“I couldn't be happier than this with two medals here in Boras and to be junior champion is just fabulous for me. A medal is a medal but gold in 1500m and silver in 800m means a lot for me,” she said.

Sclabas closed her major junior career on the track with a sub-60 second last lap to win a typically tactical final ahead of Ireland’s Sarah Healy. In doing so, Sclabas came away with her seventh major medal from U18 and U20 track championships since 2016 when she began her haul with a 1500/3000m double at the European U18 Championships in Tbilisi.

The Swiss also excels away from athletics having won major medals in duathlon and triathlon and the 18-year-old also has plans to study medicine in the near future.

Healy and Sclabas used their experience from major international competitions to position themselves out of trouble and towards the front in a slow and jostling race. The Irishwoman was the first to make the break but Sclabas reeled in Healy with 70 metres remaining, utilising her superior 800m pace to win in 4:25.95 to Healy’s 4:27.14.

“It's not the colour I wanted but it still feels great to win a medal for Ireland. It was great to go up against such talented girls, it's great to get some experience and Delia ran an amazing race,” said the silver medallist.

Elsewhere on the track, Spain’s Aaron Las Heras won the 5000m title for Spain in 14:02.76, Slovenia's Klara Lukan took a gun-to-tape win in the 5000m in 16:03.62 and Turkey’s Murat Yalcinkaya ran a tremendous last lap in the 3000m steeplechase final to run down home favourite Omar Nuur - 8:58.20 to 8:58.79.

Gataullina wins the pole vault title on her first attempt in the final

A few hours after Larissa Iapichino emulated her mother Fiona May by winning gold in the long jump, Aksana Gataullina followed with victory in the pole vault some 36 years after her father Rodion Gataullin won gold in the same event, adding even more lustre to the family name.

Gataullina had to be stretchered away from the arena in Grosseto two years ago after landing awkwardly in the final but the Russian came away with the title in her last year in the U20 ranks.

Her performance was equally a demonstration in economy, winning the gold medal with her first vault of the final - a first-time clearance at 4.26m. She also cleared a European U20 lead of 4.36m on her second attempt before three tries at 4.46m.

“I wasn't successful last year in Tampere [at the World U20 Championships] so it's OK that I only cleared 4.36m; I have a gold,” she said. “It's crazy!”

There was a fourth gold medal for Ukraine in the triple jump final with Artem Konovalenko winning gold with a European U20 lead and lifetime best of 16.50m and there was a fifth gold medal for Italy with Carolina Visca winning the javelin with 56.48m.

Greece’s Elina Tzenggo, who has surpassed the 60m-line this season, was pegged back to a fourth-place finish with 53.99m but the 16-year-old will be eligible to compete at the next championships in 2021.

Two Belgian title prospects didn’t materialise on the last day but European U20 leader Thomas Carmoy certainly lived up to the billing in the high jump. He won by three clear heights, clearing 2.16m, 2.18m and 2.22m before one attempt at 2.26m.