Niklas Kaul after winning the decathlon at the European U20 Championships in Grosseto (© Getty Images)
Germany's Niklas Kaul broke the world U20 decathlon record* to highlight the final day of European U20 Championships at the Carlo Zecchini stadium in Grosseto, Italy, on Sunday (23).
Kaul tallied 8435 points to improve the previous record of 8397 set by Torsten Voss 35 years ago.
Kaul finished the first day in third place with 4170 behind Estonia’s Johannes Erm (4226) and France’s Ludovic Besson (4202). On the first day, he won the high jump with 2.05m, clocked 11.48 in the 100m, jumped 7.20m in the long jump, reached 15.37m in the shot put and clocked 48.42 in the 400m.
He began his strong second day with 14.55 in the 110m hurdles and followed up with a 48.49m throw in the discus and a 4.70m clearance in the pole vault. Erm held a 16-point lead over Kaul after the pole vault but the German reached 68.05m in the javelin to take the lead.
Kaul needed to run 4:21 in the 1500m to break the record but he ran six seconds faster clocking 4:15.52 to complete an outstanding weekend in Grosseto’s sweltering heat to add the European U20 title to the world U20 title won last year in Bydgoszcz and the world U18 title he nabbed in Cali two years ago.
Erm and Karel Tilga, who improved their PBs to 8181 and 8002 respectively, took silver and bronze for Estonia. Erm’s mark was also better than the previous championship record set by Kevin Mayer with 8124.
German women clock 43.27 in 4x100m
A second world U20 record* fell on the final day, with the German women’s 4x100 relay quartet of Kathrin Fehm, Keisha Kwadwo, Sophia Junk and Jennifer Montag clocking 43.27 in the heats, eclipsing the previous record of 43.27 set by a US squad in 2006.
The record raised expectations for something special in the final. The Germans didn’t improve their mark but nonetheless impressed with a dominant win in 43.44 ahead of France (44.03) and Ireland (44.17).
“At first we were told that we had set the European record,” Kwadwo said. “Only a few minutes later we realised that it was a world record. We tried to keep the focus until the final.”
The German men’s squad also won the 4x100m, clocking 39.48 to edge Italy, whose 39.50 was a national U20 record.
“I am happier with the relay medal than my individual gold medal, as it’s the result of a lot of hard team work,” said Filippo Tortu, won won the 100m on Friday.
Armand “Mondo” Duplantis completed a Swedish pole vault double winning with 5.65m on his third attempt the day after Lisa Gunnarson’s win in the women’s contest. German Bo Kanda took silver with 5.45m. Duplantis, the world U20 record holder, bowed out with three unsuccessful attempts at a championships record height of 5.80m.
In a close triple jump competition, Martin Lamou of France won with 16.97m ahead of Italy’s Andrea Dallavalle who leaped 16.87. Melvin Raffin of France, the world U20 indoor record holder, was third with 16.82m.
Double gold for Ingebrigtsen
Norway’s 16-year rising star Jakob Ingebrigtsen pulled away at the bell to win the 3000m steeplechase to collect his second title in two days following his victory in the 5000m. Ingebrigtsen, who broke the European U20 record in the 3000m steeplechase earlier this summer, clocked 8:50.00.
“I am getting more confident as I am making a lot of progress in the steeplechase,” said Ingebrigtsen, who clocked 8:26.81 on 8 July.
Another major title for Hruba
After leaping to the world U18 and U20 titles the last two seasons, Czech jumper Michaela Hruba added another major title to her collection with a 1.93m victory in the high jump.
Karina Taranda from Belarus won second with 1.87m.
Switzerland won a third gold medal at these championships thanks to Yasmin Giger, who edged Agata Zupin from Slovenia in the waning metres of the 400m hurdles in 55.90. Zupin clocked a 55.96 national record.
Wilfried Happio from France won the men’s 400m hurdles in 49.96 beating last year’s European U18 champion Alessandro Sibilio from Italy, who smashed his personal best with 50.34.
Milica Gardesevic of Serbia won the women’s long jump with 6.46m to follow in the footsteps of her compatriot Ivana Spanovic. Pole Oskar Stachnik took the men’s discus with 62.01m.
Jemma Reekie completed a British double in the 1500m, crossing the finishline in 4:13.25, more than three seconds clear of Bulgaria’s Liliana Georgieva (4:16.73).
Elsewhere, the Italian men’s 4x400 relay team capped a fabulous edition for the home squad, winning the final race of the championships and their first gold in the event since 2011. The quarter clocked 3:08:08 ahead of France (3:09:04) and Poland (3:09.32).
Ukraine took the women’s event in 3:32.82 ahead of Germany (3:33.08) and Great Britain (3:33.68).
Germany topped the medal table with 13 --five gold, seven silver and one bronze ahead of Great Britain --five gold, six silver and eight bronze-- and Ukraine, who collected four gold, one silver and one bronze.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
* pending the usual ratification procedures