Ivet Lalova-Collio rolled back the years by taking a sprint double with fast times in both finals at the Balkan Championships in Pravets, Bulgaria on 2-3 September.
Now 35, Lalova-Collio began her campaign with a hard fought victory in the 100m in 11.23 ahead of Diana Vaisman who improved her Israeli record to 11.25 but Lalova-Collio in dominant form over her specialist distance, winning the 200m in a championship record of 22.45 - the fourth fastest time of her career - ahead of Cyprus’ Eleni Artymata in 22.97.
Lalova-Collio, who eclipsed teammate Anelia Nuneva’s championship record of 22.56, is equal fourth on the 2019 European list alongside reigning two-time world champion Dafne Schippers and will very much be aiming to make yet another global final at the IAAF World Championships in Doha.
Ivet Lalova-Collio took an impressive sprint double at the Balkan Championships in Pravets.
Her winning time in the 200m was the fourth fastest time of her career! pic.twitter.com/nFnGdzn3Z5
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) September 4, 2019
Lalova-Collio won two of the five gold medals for hosts Bulgaria over the two days. There was double gold in the high jump with Tihomir Ivanov clearing 2.27m in the men’s competition while Olympic and European silver medallist Mirela Demireva wrapped up her title on the women’s side with her first jump of the competition - 1.84m on her first attempt - before improving to 1.91m ahead of three attempts at 2.02m.
Georgi Tsonov also won gold for Bulgaria in the triple jump with 17.03m to equal his lifetime best.
Ukraine topped the medal table with nine gold medals with notable performances including 32-year-old Serhiy Smelyk winning the 200m title with a championship record of 20.50. Former European U18 and U20 heptathlon champion Alina Shukh also scored 6042 points to win the heptathlon.
Greece and Turkey also came away with six gold medals apiece. European champion Paraskevi Papahristou won the triple jump with 14.24m ahead of reigning world U20 champion Aleksandra Nacheva from Bulgaria with 13.89m, Emmanouil Karalis cleared a championship record of 5.66m in the pole vault and 19-year-old Hristos Frantzeskakis set a lifetime best of 76.67m to win gold in the hammer ahead of teammate Mihail Anastasakis with 75.32m.
One of my attempts at 5.81.. mat was close and pole couldn’t bend well But it will come Next week in Poland pic.twitter.com/ke8krYmLU5
— Emmanuel Karalis (@FlyManoloFly) September 4, 2019
However, reigning European indoor and outdoor champion Miltiadis Tentoglou was surprisingly beaten in the long jump by Ukraine’s Yaroslava Isachenkov who took the lead in the fifth round with 7.88m which narrowly withstood Tentoglou’s final round response of 7.88m.
Turkish highlights included Emre Zafer Barnes winning the 100m title in 10.22 and the Turkish 4x400m relay team winning gold in 3:05.85.
Special guests at the Balkan Championships included European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen and IAAF President Sebastian Coe.
Full results here.