Eight months on from finishing 11th in the discus final at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships, Norway’s Ola Stunes Isene now finds himself at the top of the 2019 world list.
The 24-year-old made his biggest impact on the global stage with a brilliant personal best of 67.78m in Albufeira, Portugal on Friday (12) which will have a major impact among all his rivals.
They might not have thought of him as a big contender in a World Championship year – but that has all changed now with even more potential ahead. “I am shocked to be the world leader,” said Isene, speaking to friidrett.no. “But after the competition I heard that I was throwing my last warm-up test at 68.07m. That means there is room for improvement.”
The national champion last year, Isene now finds himself third on the Norwegian all-time list behind Knut Hjetnes (69.92m) and Svein Inge Valvik (68.00m) after a superb series: 67.78m, 67.72m, 64.15m and 65.79. He had begun the competition with a personal best of 63.30m, so this performance was some improvement.
While it is difficult to equate championship displays to those in the build-up and those set outside stadiums, a throw of 67.78m would have brought Isene bronze in Berlin where Lithuania’s world champion Andrius Gudzius added the European title to his collection with 68.46m and Sweden’s Daniel Stahl was second with 68.23.
The Norwegian only had two valid throws on that occasion - 59.41m and 59.56m - and did not make the cut.
Gebre edges out Felix over 10,000m in Burjassot
The European 10,000m Cup will return to the Parliament Hill Athletics Track in London on 6 July and in Burjassot in Spain on Saturday (13), a few contenders for that title put their names to the fore at the Iberian Trophy.
Spain’s Trihas Gebre won a high quality women’s race, clocking 31:55.01 to edge out former European 10,000m champion Ana Dulce Felix from Portugal who continues her return to racing after maternity leave in 31:55.95 - her fastest time in three years.
Felix’s compatriot Carla Salome Rocha finished third in 32:28.02 with Spaniards Maitane Melero (32:44:09) and Nuria Lugueros (32:58.02) rounding out the top five.
As Kenya’s Davis Kiplangat won the men’s race in 27:46.43, former European 10,000m bronze medallist Antonio Abadia returned to racing with a third-place finish in 28:13.19 to win the Spanish title ahead of Mohamed Ali Jelloul (28:26.91) and Yago Rojo (28:29.48).
Francis and Gemili show good early season form in Grenada
British sprinters Miguel Francis and Adam Gemili earned good early season wins at the third Grenada Invitational in St George’s on Saturday (13).
Despite the wind and rain, Francis won the 200m in 20.16 - his fastest time since 2016 when he clocked 19.88 while representing Antigua - and in the process beat Canada’s treble Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse from Canada who was second in 20.20.
Gemili, who just missed out on the medals over 200m at the European Championships last year, won the 100m in 10.11 ahead of another Canadian, Aaron Brown in 10.13.
So pleased to win the Grenada Invitational 100m last night! 10.11 and feeling healthy. On to Japan for the World Relays! pic.twitter.com/6D5nKGcvSc
— Adam Gemili (@Adam_Gemili) April 14, 2019
It is another big summer for the British sprinters as the team will look to make a successful defence of their 4x100m relay gold medal at the world championships in Doha. When they took gold in London in 2017, Gemili ran the second leg before running the third leg of their gold medal-winning squad in Berlin last August.
Dina Asher-Smith, who came away with three gold medals from the European Championships, was also in action. She made a low-key season's opener at the Southern Athletics League in Gillingham where she ran in the 4x400m relay for her club Blackheath & Bromley. Her split was reported to have been around 52 seconds.
So, at the Southern Athletics league in Gillingham yesterday, the first leg of the womens 4x400m for Blackheath & Bromley yesterday was one @dinaashersmith! Pretty much the best sprinter in the world, at a SAL match! Gutted to have missed it but my coach got a great photo. pic.twitter.com/vUyGadXpnM
— Sean (@sconnerton84) April 14, 2019
Brembach defeats Linke for the German 20km race walk title
It was a good weekend for race walkers looking ahead to the World Championships in Doha and also next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Nils Brembach and Saskia Feige won the German 20km race walk titles in Naumburg - with times of 1:20:48 and 1:30:40 respectively - which are both inside the qualifying standard for Tokyo 2020.
Brembach had a good win over the reigning European Race Walking Cup winner Christopher Linke, who was second in 1:21:32.
In Zaniemysl, Artur Brzozowski won the 20km event in 1:21:07 from Dawid Tomala 1:21:33, both securing men’s qualifying times for the world championships, as did Katarzyna Zdzieblo in the women’s in 1:32:03.
Belarusian Raman Khartanovich doesn’t graduate into the senior ranks until 2022 but the 16-year-old will be a challenger for medals at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Boras, Sweden from 18-21 July.
The teenager is progressing brilliantly as he showed in Minsk at the weekend when he set the national U18 discus (1.5kg) record to 62.46m.
In the men’s hammer, Yurii Shayunov won with 71.72m.