Lamont Marcell Jacobs on his way to 60m gold at the European Indoor Championships in Torun (© AFP / Getty Images)
One of the best performances so far at the European Indoor Championships came in the last final of the day as Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs powered to 60m gold in 6.47 in Torun on Saturday (6).
The 26-year-old – who, up until a few years ago, was better known as a long jumper – smashed the Italian record with his run in the final, having eased through the rounds earlier in the day with 6.59 in his heat and 6.56 in the semifinals.
It’s the second-fastest winning time ever at the European Indoor Championships and it moves Jacobs to fourth on the European indoor all-time list. His winning margin of 0.13 is also the biggest ever in the men’s 60m at these championships.
Germany’s Kevin Kranz finished second in 6.60, just 0.01 ahead of defending champion Jan Volko.
“This is a dream come true,” said Jacobs. “In training I was very fast, but I wasn't expecting to run 6.47.”
While Jacobs won comfortably, the women’s long jump went down to the wire with Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk producing a last-round effort of 6.92m to snatch victory from Germany’s Malaika Mihambo.
After fouls in her opening two efforts, Bekh-Romanchuk went into the lead with a 6.80m leap in round three, but Mihambo responded moments later with 6.88m. The world champion held on to the lead for the next few rounds until Bekh-Romanchuk’s world-leading leap in the final round.
With the last jump of the competition, Mihambo valiantly sailed out to 6.78m, taking off some 29 centimetres behind the plasticine, but it wasn’t enough to regain the lead from Bekh-Romanchuk, meaning the top two positions from the 2019 World Championships were reversed. Sweden’s Khaddi Sagnia was third with 6.75m.
Bol and Husillos take two-lap titles
Femke Bol lived up to her status as favourite to take the women’s 400m crown in 50.63, her fifth Dutch record of the indoor season.
Teammate and training partner Lieke Klaver, running from lane three, led at halfway as expected, going through 200m in 23.70, but Bol was just 0.17 behind – a faster 200m split than usual for the 21-year-old. As she has done so often on the international circuit this year, Bol hit the front on the back straight and pulled away from her opposition.
Behind her, European champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic was moving through the field, as was Britain’s Jodie Williams. Klaver held on to second place until the final bend when she was passed by Swiety-Ersetic and then, coming into the home straight, by Williams.
Bol crossed the line in 50.63 – the third-fastest winning time ever at the European Indoors – with Swiety-Ersetic taking silver in 51.41 and Williams picking up bronze with a PB of 51.73. Ireland’s Phil Healy came through for fourth in a PB of 51.94 as Klaver faded to fifth.
The men’s final was much closer as Oscar Husillos adopted the classic indoor 400m tactic of leading from gun to tape.
The Spaniard, who was the first to cross the line in the 2018 World Indoor Championships final only to be later disqualified for a lane violation, kept out of trouble by breezing into the lead on the first lap, covered in 21.32.
He held that position in the second half as the Dutch trio of Tony van Diepen, Liemarvin Bonevacia and Jochem Dobber all looked poised to strike. Dobber faded in the closing stages while Sweden’s Carl Bengstrom finished quickly but couldn’t quite do enough to get into the medals.
Husillos, meanwhile, held on for victory in a season’s best of 46.22 as Van Diepen finished 0.03 behind for the silver medal and Bonevacia claimed bronze in 46.30.
Angelica Moser produced the jump of her life to win the women’s pole vault. Britain’s Holly Bradshaw and World Indoor Tour winner Iryna Zhuk had the cleanest starts of the finalists, reaching 4.65m with no failures on their card.
Six women were left in the competition as the bar moved to 4.70m and a first-time clearance from Tina Sutej gave the Slovenian the lead. Zhuk and Bradshaw, meanwhile, registered their first failures of the competition at this height and were ultimately unable to clear it. Moser, however, also got over it on her first try, achieving a PB in the process.
With Bradshaw and Zhuk tied for bronze, Sutej and Moser moved on to 4.75m to battle it out for gold. Moser got over on her second try – a nine-centimetre improvement on her pre-championships best – while Sutej failed twice at that bar and ended her competition with a miss at the next height, 4.80m.
In a tactical and scrappy women’s 1500m final, Belgium’s Elisa Vanderelst navigated her way through the bumping and barging to emerge the winner.
The pace only picked up in the final few laps when Spain’s Esther Guerrero put in a long kick for home. Vanderelst followed but timed her attack better, waiting until the final 100 metres to hit the front before eventually going on to win in 4:18.44.
Britain’s Holly Archer came through to take second in 4:19.91 and was initially disqualified but reinstated after an appeal. Germany’s Hanna Klein was third in 4:20.07.
Mayer on course for heptathlon gold
Decathlon world record-holder Kevin Mayer enjoyed what was – thankfully, for him – a relatively free-of-incident first day of the heptathlon to head into the second day at the top of the leader board.
The French all-rounder trailed 21-year-old Simon Ehammer for the first three events as the Swiss talent clocked 6.75 in the 60m, leapt 7.89m in the long jump and threw 14.75m in the shot. Mayer also started well, running 6.86 in the 60m, jumping 7.47m and throwing 16.32m.
A 2.04m clearance in the high jump moved Mayer into the overall lead with a tally of 3571, equalling the day-one score he achieved when setting the European record of 6479 to win the 2017 European indoor title. Ehammer cleared a solid 1.95m in the high jump to remain in medal contention, just 33 points behind Mayer.
Mayer is a marginally better sprint hurdler than Ehammer and is a far superior pole vaulter, so he should – barring disaster – hold on to his lead tomorrow. But disaster is never too far away in the combined events, so all three medals are still up for grabs tomorrow.
Defending champion Jorge Urena is currently in third place, but Germany’s Andreas Bechmann, Poland’s Pawel Wiesiolek, Netherlands’ Rik Taam, Italy’s Dario Dester and Estonia’s Risto Lillemets are all close behind and could conceivably move into medal contention tomorrow.
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics