It has been quite a summer for Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev and none better than his performance this week in Zagreb.
Running out of lane seven in the 200m at the 65th Hanzekovic Memorial, Guliyev left the rest trailing as he won in 19.88, the sixth best time ever by a European.
Never before had he broken 20-seconds, yet he showed signs of what could happen during the world championships where he reduced his personal best to 20.01.
But as this national record takes him to the top of this year’s European Athletics rankings, Guliyev, 25, becomes one of the favourites for next summer’s European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam 2016.
Watch Guliyev's 19.87 over 200m in Zagreb below:
In Zagreb, Guliyev beat Greece’s Lykourgos-Stefanos Tsakonas (20.45) and Alonso Edward (also 20.45), the Panamanian who won the Diamond Race. Earlier in the meeting he had finished third in the 100m (10.18) won by Jamaican Asafa Powell (9.96).
Guliyev now finds himself in impressive company on that European all-time list which is led by the late and great Italian Pietro Mennea with his 19.72 from 1979.
He is no stranger to winning events, having been European junior 200m champion and 100m silver medallist in 2009.
In Beijing, he had qualified as the quickest from the heats with that 20.01, then a national record, before reaching the final with 20.10 in his semi. As Jamaica’s Usain Bolt won gold (19.55), Guliyev was sixth in 20.11 but now this time of 19.88 pushes him to joint-sixth on this year’s world list.
It comes during a fine spell for Turkish sprinting which last weekend saw Jak Ali Harvey break the country’s 100m national record at the Turkish Turkcell Super League Clubs Final in Ankara.
And as he achieved his time of 10.01, the fourth best in Europe in 2015, he beat Guliyev (10.19) and then did the same in the 200m. Harvey won that in 20.38 from Guliyev in 20.46.
EUROPEAN 200m ALL-TIME
1. Pietro Mennea (ITA) 19.72A Mexico City, 12 Sep 1979
2. Christophe Lemaitre (FRA) 19.80 Daegu, 3 Sep 2011
3. Konstadinos Kederis (GRE) 19.85 Munich, 9 Aug 2002
3. Churandy Martina (NED) 19.85 Lausanne, 23 Aug 2012
5. John Regis (GBR) 19.87A Sestriere, 31 Jul 1994
6. Ramil Guliyev (TUR) 19.88 Zagreb, 8 Sep 2015