Category Archives: European Championships

EC2012 Triple Jump: Olha Saladukha (Olha Saladuha Ольга Саладуха) takes gold

I love watching the triple jump because of its highly technical nature. The way the athletes hop, skip, and step to amazing distances is a graceful exercise that evokes wonder for this athletics aficionado.

However, the event has not been given the same attention as the more popular disciplines like the men’s 100m dash. I got thoroughly pissed off while watching the Adidas Grand Prix, a Diamond League meeting, last month. The directors of the telecast opted to air round-after-round of a pedestrian long jump competition over the women’s triple jump competition!

Click this link to read the full article…

Portrait Silke Spiegelburg

Check out this documentary on German Olympic hopeful Silke Spiegelburg.

Silke has a personal best 4.82m, set in Monaco this year. She has won two European Indoor silver medals the past few years. Spiegelburg finished second at the Barcelona European Championships two years ago. Spiegelburg has been a finalist in two World Championships, this year’s World Indoors and the Beijing Olympics.

Read: “London Olympics Preview – The Pole Vault”

Go Silke! You deserve a medal!

Sources:

Silke’s IAAF profile

Wikipedia

Track Beauty of the Week: Irina Davydova Ирина Давыдова

Irina Davydova Ирина Давыдова is this week’s Track Beauty!

Coming into 2012, Daydova had a relatively humble personal best of 55.48s in the 400m hurdles. Davydova made heads turn when she made her outdoor debut in Sochi last May. The Russian clocked 53.87s for her first ever foray under 54-seconds, shedding 1.61 seconds off her erstwhile lifetime best. In fact, she had yet to go under 55 seconds prior to this year! Her performance in Sochi propelled the 24-year old to the top of the 2012 world rankings.

Click here to read the full article…

Helsinki European Championships: Women’s 4x400m Relay

The 4x400m relay has traditionally been the final event of athletics competitions. From low-key schools meets to the Olympics, the grueling yet exciting event has always been the curtain-ender.

The recently concluded European Championships in Helsinki were no different. With the Russian Olympic Trials being held the week after, the European athletics powerhouse opted to send its “B” team to Helsinki.

Click this link to read the full article…

Verena is Back!

My favorite moment of the 2010 Barcelona European Championships was when Verena Sailer stormed to first place at the 100m dash. Since then, I’ve been a fervent supporter of Verena. Unfortunately, the German sprinter’s performance have been hampered by injury.

Read: “Track Beauty of the Week – Verena Sailer”

The Helsinki European Championships was her first major international since her breakout win in Barcelona a couple of years ago. The German champion performed magnificently. Sailer notched a season’s best of 11.14s in the 1st Round. Verena (11.17s) finished second in her semifinal, behind the fast-finishing Olesya Povh Олеся Повх (11.13s)of Ukraine.

Click this link to read the full article…

Marco Vistalli does a Derek Redmond

When the European Championships 400m dash final got underway, a lone athlete got left out of the blocks. As the rest of the field zoomed towards the finish line, Italy’s Marco Vistalli made his way slowly around the Helsinki track. Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic won gold, stopping the clock at 45.24s. The Italian walked the distance, notching a time of 4:04.20.

Vistalli is a quality European quarter miler. He has a personal best of 45.38s from the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona. Although he had won medals at the European U23 Championships and the European Team Championships, Helsinki was his first ever major international final.

He had run times of 45.98s in the first round and 46.01s in the semifinals, where he topped his heat. Had he been able to run a time close to his personal best, a podium finish could have been possible. But then again, injuries are part and parcel of athletics competition.

Perhaps Vistalli did not want to see “DNS” or “DNF” written beside his name. According to an article from the Italian Athletics Federation, the quarter-miler has been nursing a muscle injury that was exacerbated in the semifinals. The Italian was applauded by the spectators for his effort and gamely made a dip to the finish.

For his display of the Olympic ideal of “taking part” and emulating Derek Redmond, I tip my hat off to Vistalli.

Other athletes who had had their Derek Redmond moments:

David Alerte

Jessie Saint-Marc

Dwight Thomas

Additional Link:

EC 400m dash results

The Future of European Hurdling

Sergey Shubenkov is the real deal.

He had set a new Russian national record of 13.18s coming into the European Championships in Helsinki. Despite a headwind, the 2011 European U23 Champion ran 13.28s in his qualifying heat. The young Russian stamped his class in the semifinals, stopping the clock in a European-leading time of 13.09s.

View the longer version here

The way he clears the barriers is impressive. The speed of his clearance is noticeable – from the lean to the forceful lead leg snap. It is reminiscent of ease of movement of Dayron Robles’ and Liu Xiang’s respective hurdling techniques. I have yet to study a slow motion clip of his hurdling, but his form – somewhat resembling the archaic double arm shift – is refreshing to watch.

He is a technician that has remarkable speed in between the barriers, as shown by his increasingly quicker times. And he is just 21 years old!

Shubenkov’s time at the Helsinki semifinal ranks him as the sixth fastest European all-time, behind Colin Jacskon (12.91s, 1993, 26y), Ladji Doucoure (12.97s, 2005, 22y), Tony Jarrett (13.00s, 1993, 25y), Florian Schwarthoff (13.05s, 1995, 26y), and Stanislavs Olijars (13.08s, 2003, 24y). Shubenkov had run the fastest time by a European athlete since Doucoure won the World title in the very same stadium seven years ago.

The Russian is in good company. Jackson was a former world record holder, many-time European champion, and and an Olympic silver medalist. Doucoure almost won a medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, had he not fallen badly. Schwarthoff is an Olympic bronze medalist and a European silver medalist. Olijars, a World Indoor bronze medalist and a former European Champion, reached the finals of the Athens Olympics.

With Shubenkov’s impressive showing at the European Championships, the future looks bright for the 21-year old. Considering his youthful exuberance, natural hurdling talent, and the sheer joy that he exudes practicing the sport, I won’t be surprised if he makes an impact at the London Olympic Games. The way he carries himself on the track reminds me a lot about Liu Xiang. Happy hurdlers, indeed, are great competitors.

Read: “Monaco Diamond League – 110m Hurdles”

A finals appearance is probable. He will be up against the likes of Aries Merritt, Liu, Jason Richardson, and Dayron Robles. Shubenkov had displayed maturity beyond his years at the Monaco leg of the Diamond League, where finished two-hundredths of a second behind Richardson. A medal is a distant possibility, if the puzzles fall into place.

Additional Videos:

Shubenkov’s win at the European U23 Champs

Shubenkov’s U23 post-race interview

Day 4 Interview (after the semis)

Marathon Athletics Coverage

I’ve always rued the lack of athletics coverage here in the Philippines. When there is a major championship, I almost always watch the festivities from those bootleg live streaming links. But thanks to Destiny Cable and Eurosport, I’ve been getting consistent coverage of the Diamond League circuit and the European Championships.

It’s quite weird, really, how my track & field addiction seemed to have grown exponentially after I hung up my spikes. Hence, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time staying up late to watch the aforesaid athletics competitions.

Eurosport’s coverage of the Helsinki European Championships is admirable. My favorite channel has been showing ALMOST EVERY SINGLE FRIGGIN’ EVENT. Because of the time difference – and my rekindled athletics addiction – I’ve been burning the midnight oil since the Euro Champs started last Wednesday. With the European Football Champs and Wimbledon also ongoing, I was tempted not to turn off the boob tube and shun sleep!

Despite the fact that I’m probably the lone Filipino losing sleep over the European Athletics Championships, I am a truly happy athletics afficionado!

Track Beauty of the Week: Jiřina Ptáčníková

Jiřina Ptácniková is this week’s track beauty!

The Czech pole vaulter is amongst the elite of the relatively-young athletics discipline. Ptácniková has a personal best of 4.66m set back in 2010. She has an indoor best of 4.60m, which she cleared as she missed out on the 2010 European Indoor Championships podium.

Photo from sport.cz

The 25-year year old has had quite a few close brushes with major championship medals. In 2010, she placed 5th in both the World Indoor Championships in Doha and the European Championships in Barcelona, where she was a mere centimeter away from her personal best. The Czech has a Universiade gold medal to her credit though, a feat she achieved in 2009.

Nevertheless, her improvement through the years have been steadily consistent. In a technical event where pre-competition favorites could falter (think Sergey Bubka Сергі́й Наза́рович Бу́бка during the 1992 Olympic Games) or relative no-names could shoot out of obscurity (think Rens Blom at the rain-soaked 2005 Helsinki World Champs), Ptácniková is within range to eke out a surprise performance.

Fittingly, Jirina won her first ever major international title in a rain-soaked final at the Helsinki European Championships. The Czech had a best clearance of 4.60m in the competition, winning over the German record holder Martina Strutz and Greek Nikoleta Kyriokopolou on countback.

Track Beauty of the Week: Ivet Lalova Ивет Лалова

Ivet Lalova Ивет Лалова is this week’s track beauty!

The Bulgarian sprinter is the ninth fastest woman of all-time in the 100m dash. She had her best ever season in 2004. Barely out of her teens, Lalova ran to lifetime best of 10.77s.

Read: “Ivet Lalova’s Comeback”

   

Photos from Wikipedia and visittobulgaria.com

At the Athens Olympics, the youngster placed a competitive 4th place behind the troika of Yuliya Nesterenko (Юлія Несцярэнка Юлия Нестеренко) (10.93s), Lauryn Williams (10.96s) and Veronica Campbell (10.97s).

She came out of the blocks with guns blazing, leading the pack for the first 60m, before being overtaken in the final 40m by the fast finishing trio.

The Bulgarian also qualified for the 200m dash final, finishing 5th overall with a time of 22.57s.

    

Photos from women-track.webcindario.com, olympicgirls.net and gosko-prominent.szm.com

Tragedy struck the promising sprinter in 2005. While warming up, Lalova unexpectedly collided with another athlete, breaking her right femur in the process. Lalova was never the same after the incident. Since 2005, she has never gone below the magical 10-second barrier again.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Lalova  could only muster a semifinals appearance in the century dash (11.51s) and the quarterfinals in the half-lap (23.15s).

Seven years after the tragic accident, Ivet completed her remarkable comeback by winning the 100m dash title at the European Championships in Helsinki. She clocked a European-leading 11.06s in the preliminary rounds, sending a strong signal that the vintage Lalova is back. In the final, the Bulgarian edged out the fast-starting Olesya Povh of Ukraine, stopping the clock in 11.28s.

%d bloggers like this: