The curtain came down today on the ninth European Athletics U23 championships in Tampere, Finland 11 – 14 July.
With a total of 21 medals, Russia topped the medal table winning six more than Great Britain who were second by virtue of more silvers than Germany, though they had the same number of golds – five. Russia won nine golds.
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A brilliant opening leg from Deji Tobais coupled with slick changeovers and a storming final straight from 100m champion Adam Gemili saw the Great Britain quartet snatch 4x100m gold in dramatic fashion.
The winning time of 38.77 erased by 0.18 the championship record held by France since Erfurt 2005.
Silver went to Poland just 0.04 down while Spain, out in lane eight, collected bronze.
It was a great run on the anchor leg from the Long Jump champion, Eusebio Cáceres, who never gave up the chase that brought Spain home by 0.01 over Germany.
It was so close at the end that Gemili was not sure he had crossed the line first but then the results flashed up and he had his second gold of the week and some measure of consolation for his failure to take a medal at the 200m.
He may have been the outright favourite for the 200m gold after his fast 20.30 in June, but Briton Adam Gemeli did not even get a medal as Poland's Karol Zalewski surprised them all with a storming run on third day of the European Athletics U23 Championships in Tampere.
The Pole, fourth in the 2012 World juniors, clocked yet another PB of 20.41 after running a 20.53PB to win his heat at the European Athletics U23 Championships on Friday, but it was the manner of his win that was so surprising. Gemili established a lead around the bend but then appeared to stall as the tall Pole came flying through. After appearing to fade slightly Czech Pavel Maslak summoned up his 400m strength to climb into silver but it was the equally determined Daniel Talbot of Great Britain who was to snatch that medal from him by 0.03 in 20.46. Despite only repeating the bronze he won in Ostrava two years ago, Maslak was rewarded with a national record of 20.49.
There was drama in the second heat of the 1500m as the European champion Henrik Ingebrigtsen failed to qualify after a heavy fall while his brother Filip went through to the final safely on Saturday at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Tampere, Finland.
Bryan Cantero of France led through a pacy first 400m in 60.44, but it did not prevent a fall from Ingebrigtsen just after the 800m mark.
The incident also saw his brother, Filip, and Turky’s Levent Ates running on the infield for 10m. The race was won by Ireland’s Paul Robinson with Filip Ingebrigtsen, Tarik Moukrime of Belgium and Cantero safely through.
Henrik Ingebrigtsen tried his best to catch the leaders but not even he is that fast and he eventually finished a frustrated 10th The Norwegian team protested but the request was turned down.
Having watched how the women did it earlier Spain’s Alberto Imedio decided it was best to employ the same front running tactics in the first 1500m heat as the safest way to qualify, covering the first 400m in 61.97.
Keeping the pace lively, he allowed the field past at 1200m but maintained his place in the top four to qualify comfortably. First place went to Peter-Jan Hannes of Belgium in 3:42.88 with Timo Benitz of Germany and Charlie Grice of Great Britain going through by right.
It was a fine British one-two as Adam Gemili and Deji Tobais scooped 100m gold and silver with the Netherlands Hensley Paulina grabbing a surprise bronze in a lifetime best at the Tampere 2013 European Athletics U23 Championships on Friday evening.
Gemili looked disappointed to have only clocked 10.20, but he had fulfilled his target of the season to come here to Tampere and win gold. In second Tobais made a concerted attempt to surprise Gemili but in the end he finished 0.09 down.
Paulina just hung on for bronze by the slenderest of margins of 0.01 but his 10.48 broke new ground for him.
“The final was weird race,” admitted Gemili. “The time was not spectacularly quick, but a gold medal is a gold medal so I am happy with that. I was behind at the start and I just had to stay calm and execute the rest of the race.”
Season leaders in the 3000m steeplechase, Abdelaziz Merzoughi of Spain and Mitko Tsenov of Bulgaria progressed safely through to Sunday’s final without mishap on Friday morning at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Tampere, Finland.
Tsenov crossed the line in a jog in the first heat winning in 8:45.02 from Italian Giuseppe Gerratana who clocked a lifetime best 8:46.05. The second heat was taken by Romain Collenenot-Spiret in a slower time of 8:52.52 with Merzoughi content to shadow him across the line in second.
The season’s top performers in the 110m Hurdles progressed without problems to the final with Aliaksandr Linnik of Belarus bringing his career best down from 13.88 to 13.76 into a 1.1mps headwind to lead the qualifiers. In heat one France’s Simon Krauss edged Germany’s Gregor Traber while in heat two it was Linnik over Koen Smet of the Netherlands.
Only two men had clean cards up to and including the qualifying height of 2.20 in the High Jump. Season leader, Daniil Tsyplakov of Russia, required only three efforts to go through to the final while Greece’s Adonios Mastoras had four clearances. Douwe Amels of the Netherlands chose a good morning to clear a season’s best of 2.20, an improvement of 5cm over his previous 2013 best coming into these championships. Exactly 12 men cleared the qualifying height with Croatia’s Alen Melon bringing up the rear with a personal outdoor best by 2cm though he has gone higher indoors.
With a last lap of 59.36, Spain’s Gabriel Navarro took 10000m gold in 29:43.22 from Romania’s Nicolae Soare and Denmark’s Abdi Ulad on Thursday evening in Tampere, Finland. So the double European junior champion from 2011 becomes the new 2013 European U23 champion.
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The race was marred however by a fall by the season’s fastest man in the field, Mats Lunders of Belgium, with five laps to go, seemingly pushed in the back by Ulad as he jostled for position.
It was at that point that Navarro injected a 67-second lap to break up the sequence of 71-second laps and the race was on but without Lunders who made a brave bid to get back on terms but to no avail as he had nothing left when the racing started.
In the end it came down to a last lap sprint as Pyotr Bogatyrev of Russia swept away from his team-mate, Aleksandr Ivanov, from the 19km mark to successfully defend his title in 1:21.31 at the European Athletics U23 Championships on Wednesday.
And so Russia got away to a confident start to these championships by winning both Walks, with a new name going into the books as Svetlana Vasilyeva lifted women's 20km gold in 1:30.07 as defending champion and fellow Russian, Nina Ochotnikova, failed to live up to her favourite tag finishing no higher than fifth over three minutes in arrears.
In the men's, for Ivanov, who for much of the race had looked the stronger of the two, it was the consolation of a silver medal in a personal best just 4sec down on the winner.