Anouk Vetter after winning the European Heptathlon title in Amsterdam (© Getty Images)
Overnight leader Anouk Vetter was imperious in the European Championships heptathlon on Saturday (9) as she claimed gold while succeeding Dafne Schippers as the Dutch record-holder in the process.
Vetter tallied 6626 in the event, part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, 81 points better than the mark Schippers set in June 2014, shortly before she shifted her focus permanently to the sprints.
“It’s really crazy – I’m European champion!” said a delighted Vetter. “It gives me confidence on the way to Rio. Having the national record from Dafne is crazy.”
Crazy, but true.
Despite horrific rain on Friday (8), Frenchwoman Antoinette Nana Djimou started smartly in pursuit of a third straight European title.
Her 13.26 in the 100m hurdles left her top of the standings. Vetter was second fastest overall with a PB of 13.29, while Czech Katerina Cachova was third fastest in 13.33
By the time the high jump began, the rains had cleared but the wind made it feel cooler than the 18C the thermometer claimed.
Nana Djimou could only clear 1.71m and dropped down to fifth, while Vetter’s 1.74m moved her into first. Hanna Kasyanova, the 2013 world champion, moved into second overall after clearing 1.77m.
Britain’s Morgan Lake was the best by far. The 19-year-old cleared 1.89m – nine centimetres better than anyone else – to move into third overall, tied for points with Gyorgyi Zsivoczky-Farkas.
Nana Djimou then produced a personal best of 16.17m in the shot put. It was the second-best throw of the entire field and put her back into first place, but only by a point over Vetter, whose PB of 15.69m was the third-best throw of the day. Topping the shot put was Austra Skujyte of Lithuania; her 16.31m elevated her to third overall.
Vetter was fastest overall in the 200m, the last heptathlon event of the day. Her 23.89 didn’t just delight the home crowd, it also gave her a 96-point lead over Nana Djimou, who could only manage 24.92. Austria’s Ivona Dadic sat in third behind Nana Djimou after producing a season’s best of 24.11 to finish her day 71 points behind the reigning champion.
The 23-year-old Vetter went out to 6.38m (which would have been a personal best but for the 2.9m/s wind) in the long jump, the second day’s opening event. That was second best of all the athletes and enough to keep her in top spot overall. Her fellow Dutchwoman Nadine Broersen was two centimetres better, lifting her to fourth.
Nana Djimou recorded a season’s best of 6.31m to stay in second place, while Austria’s Ivona Dadic stayed in third after a jump of 6.32m.
Vetter did get a PB in the javelin. Her third effort of 55.76m represented a two-metre improvement on her previous best, and gave her a near 200-point lead over Nana Djimou, who recorded 51.72m.
Dadic’s 47.92m was enough to keep her in bronze medal position ahead of Nadine Broersen, the 2014 world indoor champion, who hit a season’s best of 52.31m (though she ended her competition there on doctor’s orders). Greek Sofia Ifantidou led the field in the event with a heptathlon championship best, sailing out to 56.36m.
Vetter was virtually guaranteed the gold going into the 800m. But she also had the national record in sight, and with the rowdy Amsterdam crowd willing her on, she did not hold back.
She crossed the line in 2:21.50, only a second outside her personal best. Her win was confirmed with the third-best performance in the world this year.
Nana Djimou finished her 800m in 2:19.33 to claim silver with 6458. Dadic was third fastest overall in the 800m in 2:12.83. It was her second-best clocking to date and landed her 6408 points – an improvement on the national record she set in Gotzis in May.
Thomas Byrne for the IAAF