Poland's Paulina Guba celebrates winning the women's shot put
Berlin (AFP) - Twelve-time Polish shot put champion Paulina Guba rained on German Christina Schwanitz’s hopes of a third European crown when she snatched victory with her sixth and final effort on Wednesday.
Schwanitz, the 2015 world champion, looked set for victory after going out to 19.19 with her first attempt, but the large home crowd were silenced after Guba stepped into the ring for one last go to hand Poland a third field gold of the championships.
And there was no golden send-off to Schwanitz’s teammate Robert Harting, whose singlet-ripping, mascot-carrying celebrations after winning world discus gold in the same Olympic Stadium at the 2009 worlds have taken on legendary status.
The German came in sixth in a competition also dramatically won by Lithuanian Andrius Gudzius, his last throw of 68.46m usurping Sweden’s Daniel Stahl by 23cm, in a repeat of last year’s world 1-2 finish in London.
Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou, only 20, claimed victory in the men’s long jump, his 8.25m beating out Germany’s Fabian Heinle’s 8.13.
But there was finally something for the home fans to cheer, Arthur Abele making it around the final strength-sapping 1500m to claim decathlon gold with a total of 8,431 points.
The performance left the long-time injury-plagued 32-year-old in tears, a fast-food restaurant crown stuck atop his head and David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ playing loudly over the tannoy.
US-based Briton Tim Duckworth, long-time leader after France’s world champion Kevin Mayer bombed out after just two events, paid the price for a poor run to come in fifth.
There was also a rare gold for Israel in the women’s 10,000m with gold for Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, who left her native Kenya to work in Israel in 2008 before meeting her husband-cum-coach there and then qualifying to run for the Jewish state in time for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Salpeter clocked 31min 43.29sec ahead of Dutchwoman Susan Krumins, with Eritrean-born Swede Meraf Bahta taking bronze. Double distance defending champion, Turkey’s Kenyan-born Yasemin Can, could only finish sixth.
It was only Israel’s fifth medal, and third gold, in 10 appearances at the European championships.
- Guliyev v Hortelano II -
World champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey set up a revenge showdown with Spain’s reigning European champion Bruno Hortelano in the 200m.
The duo both won their semi-finals, the Azeri-born Turk in 20.33sec, Hortelano four-hundredths quicker. The third semi went the way of Jamaican-born Swiss Alex Wilson in 20.16.
Also qualifying for Thursday’s final were Italian Eseosa Desalu, Dutchman Solomon Bockarie, Britons Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and 2014 champion Adam Gemili and Ireland’s Leon Reid, who only received clearance to run last week after transferring allegiance from Britain thanks to his Belfast-born mother.
One big name to miss out, however, will be 2012 champion Churandy Martina, the Dutchman who finished ahead of Hortelano in Amsterdam two years ago but who was promptly disqualified after straying from his lane.
Also on the track, Karsten Warholm’s ambitious bid for a double in the 400m and 400m hurdles got off to the perfect start as he scorched into the finals of the one-lap race.
Warholm, a surprise world champion in the hurdles in London last year, timed 44.91sec, with Slovenian Luka Janezic and Belgium’s 2010 champion Kevin Borlee also qualifying.
“It feels so good to win,” said Warholm. “It’s good to have the self-confidence, but I need to stay focused for both. Hurdles are a bonus for me.”
Warholm’s biggest competition might likely come in the shape of Mathew Hudson-Smith of Britain, the fastest European this season who clocked a very comfortable 44.76sec, easing down a full 40 metres from the line to win his semi ahead of another of the trio of Borlee brothers, Jonathan.
“I feel confident and ready,” said Hudson-Smith. “When you are ready, you are ready. I have a fire in my body because I want to win this title.”
Dylan Borlee missed out, however, and so did Briton Martyn Rooney, scuppered in his bid for a third successive title. “It was not meant to be,” the latter lamented.
Poland’s Karol Zalewski ran a personal best of 45.11sec to win his semi ahead of Spain’s Oscar Husillos, Portugal’s Ricardo Dos Santos rounding out the field for Friday’s final.