Hosts in pole position after five victories on day two

Marcin Lewandowski
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European indoor champion Marcin Lewandowski motored to victory in the 1500m on the second day of the European Athletics Team Championships Super League

The Polish team is bidding for their first ever title at the European Athletics Team Championships Super League and their aspirations remain on track after 22 events in Bydgoszcz.

The Poles demonstrated their strength and versatility across the programme by taking victories in five events - three on the track and two on the field - which brings their tally to 193 points ahead of France (181.5 points) and Italy (171 points).

Notwithstanding a couple of minor slip-ups - including a false start from Remigiusz Olszewski in the 100m and a slightly below-par showing from their women’s 4x100m relay team - the Poles either equalled or surpassed expectations across the day.

By contrast, reigning champions Germany - who enjoyed the perfect start on Friday with back-to-back victories courtesy of Julian Weber and Claudine Vita - had an unfortunate start to proceedings with Lisa Ryzih failing to record a mark in the pole vault and Lisa Marie Kwayie withdrawing from the 100m final.

Their fortunes didn’t improve at all as European silver medallist Kristin Gierisch had to retire after one round in the triple jump - 13.91m to finish sixth overall - and Amanal Petros was disqualified after finishing third in the 5000m but two-time European steeplechase champion Gesa Felicitas Krause managed to avoid any of the pitfalls which befell her colleagues by winning the 3000m steeplechase for a third time in 9:36.67.

After two days, the Germans find themselves in fifth-place with 160 points with last year’s third placers Great Britain just ahead of them with 162.5 points as hosts Poland lead the way. 

The individual track action was bookended with victories for the hosts. Patryk Dobek was roared home to his second sub-49 clocking by the Zawisza Stadium faithful in as many days - stopping the clock at 48.87 in the 400m hurdles to run down France’s Ludvy Vaillant (48.98) and the fast starting German Luke Campbell (49.24).

In the last track final before the relays, reigning European indoor champion Marcin Lewandowski used his tactical guile and devastating sprint finish to terrific effect, producing a 51.6 last lap to win a cagey 1500m in 3:47.88 from Great Britain’s Charlie Grice (3:48.35) with training partner Jakub Holusa from Czech Republic third in 3:49.18.

“The crowd really inspired me today. I’m very happy to have achieved this win in my home stadium as the team captain. It’s another valuable experience before the World Championships. I may be an old fox, but I can still learn something from every race,” he said.

For Lewandowski, this is very much a home event as he runs for local club Zawisza Bydgoszcz. After winning maximum points for Poland, Lewandowski lapped up the applause from the significant crowd in attendance before celebrating with his family who were donned in matching ‘Team Lewandowski’ shirts.

In between these victories, European champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic had the beating of European indoor champion Lea Sprunger from Switzerland in the 400m. Sprunger’s strength from her 400m hurdles background came through in the home straight but she couldn’t make enough of an impact on Swiety-Ersetic who won in 51.23 to Sprunger’s 51.84.

Another highlight came in the shot put as European indoor and outdoor champion Michal Haratyk displaced the championship record with 21.83m to win by more than one metre from Czech Republic’s (20.65m) who had joint ownership of the previous record which stood at 21.63m.

Haratyk’s championship record was preceded and succeeded by 21 metre-plus throws - 21.41m and 21.31m - but the 27-year-old admitted he felt somewhat off-colour today despite another splendid set of results.“I wasn’t fresh today and I didn’t feel so great,” he said. “I thought that today it wouldn’t be necessary to throw over 22 meters and my predictions were correct.”

Fellow European champion Wojciech Nowicki won the hammer with 78.84m from Greece’s Mihail Anastasakis with 76.70m and there was very nearly a sixth win in the women’s javelin. France’s European finalist Alexie Alais added two metres to her lifetime best with her first throw of 63.46m which was almost matched by Maria Andrejczyk whose spear in the third round landed a tantalising five centimetres shy of the lead.

But this competition still represents a welcome return to form for Andrejczyk who missed the majority of the 2017 and 2018 seasons after finishing fourth at the 2016 Olympic Games at the age of 20.

At the other end of the table, only one team from the last six in the standings will avoid the drop in order to accommodate the changes to the format which will be implemented from 2021 onwards. Czech Republic and Ukraine are seventh and eighth respectively both with 129 points ahead of Greece (114 points) whose three European champions were all in brilliant form in the jumps.

Miltiadis Tentoglou turned his fortunes around in the crucial third round of the long jump, following up a modest opening effort of 7.00m and then a foul with an excellent and wind legal 8.30m before Ekaterini Stefanidi cleared 4.70m in the pole vault which was followed by a particularly good third attempt at a championship record of 4.80m in blustery conditions.

Paraskevi Papahristou completed a triumvirate of wins for the Greeks in the jumps, reaching 14.48m on her only valid jump in the second round and the European champion will go in search of more big points in the long jump tomorrow.

The Greeks are followed in the standings by the three teams which were promoted from the First League in Vaasa, Finland two years ago: Switzerland (106 points), Finland (103.5 points) and Sweden (102.5 points).

Full results here