Tuka claims 800m title at Balkan Indoor Championships

Tuka thrives on being the people's champion
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Amel Tuka claimed the 800m title at the Balkan Indoor Championships

Former world 800m bronze medallist Amel Tuka from Bosnia & Herzegovina sealed the 800m title at the Balkan Indoor Championships in Istanbul on Saturday (17).

Tuka wasn’t in top form last summer due to injury but he has already set a national indoor records over 400m (47.41) and 800m (1:46.33) this season. He claimed the Balkan indoor title in a tactical 800m in 1:49.49 ahead of Kosovo’s Musa Hajdari (1:49.58).

There was another title for Bosnia & Herzegovina in the men’s shot put as Mesud Pezer won a high quality contest with a 20.77m with three more throwers surpassing the 20 metre line.

Romania’s Andrei Gag took silver with 20.41m ahead of Greece’s Nikolaos Skarvelis with 20.15m while former European indoor champion Asmir Kolasinac from Serbia finished out of the medals on his return from injury with 20.06m.

On the track, Turkish athletes claimed both 60m titles. Emre Zafer Barnes claimed the men’s title in 6.62 and reigning world U18 100m champion Mizgin Ay, 18, set a national U20 record of 7.38 in both the heats and final of the women’s 60m to claim the title ahead of long-time Bulgarian international Inna Eftimova in 7.40.

Greece’s Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou continued her return from pregnancy to win the pole vault title with a third-time 4.50m clearance and teammate Konstadinos Baniotis cleared 2.22m to win the high jump. Croatia’s Ana Simic won the women’s high jump title with a 1.92m clearance and European indoor champion Izmir Smajlaj from Albania won the long jump with 7.80m.

Bulgaria dominated the women’s horizontal jumps with Milena Mitkova (6.45m) and former European indoor silver medallist Gabriela Petrova (13.90m) claiming the long jump and triple jump titles. Radoslava Mavrodieva also won the shot put title for Bulgaria with 17.85m.

Closing the programme with victories in the men’s and women’s 4x400m, Romania topped the medal table with 15 medals in total, including five gold medals, ahead of Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece with three gold medals apiece.