Weber and Vita provide Germany with the perfect start in Bydgoszcz

Julian Weber
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Germany's Julian Weber dominated the javelin on the first day of the European Athletics Team Championships Super League in Bydgoszcz

Reigning champions Germany made the perfect start to the first day of the European Athletics Team Championships Super League with victories in both field events while the Polish star excelled on a busy event of track heats at the Zawisza Stadium.

Claudine Vita opened the Germany tally with victory in the discus ahead of French veteran Melina Robert-Michon who was bidding for her fifth successive win at the European Athletics Team Championships.

Robert-Michon set the standard for her rivals to follow in the first round with a 60 metre-plus effort of 60.61m but Vita - who is eighteen years Robert-Michon’s junior at the age of 22 - surpassed her early competition yardstick with 61.09m in the second round. 

The positions remained unchanged in the second half of the competition although Robert-Michon did produce her second throw over 60 metres with 60.47m on her final attempt. 

“A competition like this is mostly about points, so I’m happy I gave Germany 12 points here. The wind conditions were unhelpful with side wind, so 61 metres is an OK result,” said Vita who also won the European U23 title in this arena two years ago.

By contrast Julian Weber thoroughly dominated the javelin. Any of his four throws would have proved sufficient for maximum points and he was the only thrower in a field of 12 to surpass the 80 metre-line.

Weber’s first round throw of 86.86m put him almost seven metres ahead of some very accomplished opposition. Last year’s winner and reigning world silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch from the Czech Republic could only muster up a best throw of 79.88m on his first attempt with Poland’s Marcin Krukowski third with 79.54m.

Weber backed up his opening throw with 83.75m in the second round which was followed by 81.64m and 83.87m in the third and fourth round. 

The strength of German javelin throwing is such that there is no place for Weber on the team for the IAAF World Championships in Doha but he has secured his place on the European team for The Match which takes place in Minsk on 9-10 September.

European champions Swiety-Ersetic and Swoboda cruise through their heats

The decibel levels on the first day of competition in Bydgoszcz reached their highest when double European champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic took to the track in the first heat of the 400m.

Swiety-Ersetic confirmed this assessment after cruising to the fastest time of the day with 52.32, finishing almost one second clear of second-placer Maria Benedict Chigbolu from Italy in 53.23. “My coach wanted me to qualify with as little effort as possible, even placing third,” she said. “But the crowd carried me to a win.”

But Swiety-Ersetic will have to overcome the significant challenge which will be presented by Switzerland’s Lea Sprunger who further demonstrated her proficiency on the flat by winning the European indoor 400m title in Glasgow. 

Sprunger was only on the cusp of qualification approaching the home straight but she overhauled the two athletes on her inside to win the second heat in 52.57 ahead of France’s Deborah Sananes (52.64) and Ukraine’s Kateryna Klymyuk (52.66).

Ewa Swoboda overcame an uncharacteristically cumbersome start for a European indoor 60m champion to qualify safely for the 100m final, cruising to a second-place finish behind Great Britain’s Daryll Neita - 11.19 to 11.23. “I had some troubles in the start but my race was quite great,” confirmed Swoboda. “I know I have something in reserve, I can save some time in the start and I hope I will do it in tomorrow’s final.”

Another aspirant for maximum points in the 100m final is France’s Carolle Zahi who won the second heat 11.20 by two-tenths. Zahi’s oft-injured teammate Jimmy Vicaut also showed a semblance of his best form, easing down to a 10.07 clocking in the men’s 100m heats.

The theme of Polish success on the track began in the very first scoring event as Patryk Dobek won the 400m hurdles in a season’s best of 48.80 while the main programme concluded with Jodie Williams producing a polished piece of sprinting in the 200m, winning the second heat in 22.97.

Full results here.