Germany emerged triumphant after just edging out Great Britain and France at the Sainsbury’s International Match in Glasgow on Saturday, the second of this winter’s European Athletics Indoor Permit Meetings.
Victories in the Scottish city from former European 100m champion Verena Sailer, middle distance men Robin Schembera and Florian Orth as well as long jumper Julian Howard helped Germany to a total of 50 points, one ahead of their two nearest rivals in a very tight contest, with a young Scotland team trailing in fourth with 35 points.
Sailer had a sluggish start by her own high standards but quickly got into her running to clock 7.27.
Her early season performance will have her marked down as a potential medal contender at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in March, when she will be hoping to do better than her disappointing seventh place in Gothenburg two years ago.
Schembera and Orth won the 800m and 1500m in 1:48.51 and 3:40.20 respectively and will possibly also be harbouring medal ambitions in Prague while Howard had four jumps better than his nearest rival and finished with a best of 7.81m.
Great Britain’s Jessica Judd, second as a junior at the Spar European Cross Country Championships last month, was an impressive winner of the women’s 1,500m in just her third ever indoor race.
Judd, who turned 20 at the start of January, hit the front at the half way mark and pulled away from her rivals to win with an indoor personal best of 4:14.53, the third fastest time in the world this year at this early stage in the indoor season.
It was a great performance by Judd who clearly enjoyed herself:
Absolutely loved competing in Glasgow, GB did great!! #teameffort
— Jessica Judd (@jessjuddxx) January 24, 2015
Kelly Massey helped get the British team off to a great start with a victory in the first event on the track, the women’s 400m, setting an indoor best of 52.95, the fastest time by a European in 2014.
France also had their moments in the spotlight with a slick 60m hurdles win from Pascal Martinot-Lagarde in 7.63 while two-time European long jump champion outdoors and the 2014 world indoor champion Eloysé Lesueur won her specialist event with a first round effort of 6.59m.
However, ultimately there was disappointment for the French as they were disqualified from the final event, the men’s 4x400m, for a faulty baton change while they were celebrating overall victory, and when it looked like they had won the match for the first time since its inception in 1988.
It wasn’t the only disqualification that had an effect on the final result.
The start of the men’s 60m had been delayed after a shout from a child in the crowd and Great Britain’s Richard Kilty, racing indoors for the first time since he won the world indoor 60m title last March, then paid the price for twitching his arm forward as he waited for the gun.
Everything was going well and I could have set off halfway down the track and still won that race, but the starter held everyone and I twitched a little bit. That's all there is to it really.
France's Emmanuel Biron eventually took the honours in 6.69.
Another upset came in the women’s 60m hurdles when Great Britain’s Serita Solomon took the scalp of France’s Cindy Billaud, the 2014 European Athletics Championships 100m hurdles silver medallist who also finished fourth at last year’s IAAF World Indoor Championships.
The British hurdler started strongly and as Billaud tried to catch up, she hit the final hurdle before limping over the line.
Solomon set a new personal best of 8.13, with Germany’s Pamela Dutkiewicz second in 8.25 and Billaud a distant third in 8.59.