It was a busy weekend – in relative terms, of course – across Europe with competitions taking place in Finland, Serbia, Czech Republic, Norway and Hungary.
The meetings were comprised mainly of field events with small fields and depleted crowds. Nevertheless, for the athletes who took part and the fans who spectated, it was a small step closer back to the norm.
In Somero in Finland on Saturday (6), Krista Tervo smashed her own national record with a throw of 71.93m. She was under pressure in the early stages, sitting in second place after two rounds, just eight centimetres adrift of Suvi Koskinen’s leading mark of 66.01m. In that same second round, Silja Kosonen added almost a metre to Tervo’s national U20 record, throwing 65.60m.
Tervo, as she had done in the opening round, produced another foul with her third effort, but then sent her hammer out to 68.81m in round four to take the lead. Having found her groove, she unleashed her record-breaking throw in round five. The 22-year-old rounded out her series with 70.84m, the second-best throw of her career.
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Kosonen made another improvement on the Finnish U20 record with 67.99m in round four, then followed it with 67.50m and 67.63m to prove it wasn’t a fluke.
“I’d been talking with my coach about the possibility of throwing 72 metres this season, and now we have done it in my first competition,” said a delighted Tervo, whose previous best was 70.18m. “My main goal for the rest of 2020 is to throw 70 metres more consistently.”
In the men’s competition, Aaron Kangas took the lead in the third round with 74.34m, then set a PB of 75.30m before improving it again with 77.09m in round five. It’s the best throw by a Finnish man for four years.
Over in Novi Sad, Serbia, world indoor champion Ivana Spanovic opened her season at a low-key competition organised by the local athletics club on Saturday (6).
The Olympic bronze medallist, who missed last year’s World Championships through injury, jumped 6.80m in the fourth round, while European indoor bronze medallist Strahinja Jovancevic found 7.25m sufficient to win the men’s competition.
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“We are very happy with today’s result and 6.80m is a very good performance for the opening of the season,” coach Goran Obradovic told Serbian media. “We consider this as ‘controlled training’ as it was necessary to know in what shape Ivana is at this stage. This is a good sign and we look forward to being ready to jump seven metres once the Diamond League meetings start.”
World bronze medallist Bence Halasz threw a world-leading 78.86m to win the men’s hammer contest in Szombathely on Saturday (6). 2017 European U20 bronze medallist Daniel Raba was a few metres adrift, as was the case in their last clash a few weeks ago, but he was rewarded with a PB of 73.85m.
Hungary’s 2013 world U18 champion Reka Gyuratz was a comfortably winner of the women’s competition with 70.20m, her first 70-metre throw of the season.
Norway’s world finalist Ola Stunes Isene produced the highlight in Bergen on Saturday (6), winning the men’s discus with a season’s best of 64.62m. Sven Martin Skagestad, his biggest domestic rival, was second with 61.22m.
European indoor 60m champion Jan Volko was the standout performer in Ostrava on Friday (5). The Slovakian sprinter won the rarely-contested outdoor 60m in 6.69 and made it a sprint double by winning the 150m in 15.33.
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics