First session of European Indoors featured Thiam, Maslak and Muir

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The European Indoor Athletics championships features 564 athletes from 49 countries. Hosted in Belgrade, Serbia, the meet is the largest athletic gathering in Serbia, and they are quite proud of it.

The 2017 European Indoor Athletics are the the largest indoor athletics championships in the world in 2017. Serbia is providing a fine facility and lots of enthusiasm from its volunteers for the largest sporting event in Serbia in 2017.

Storl_DavidQ-EuroInd15.jpgDavid Storl, photo by PhotoRun.net

Nafissatou Thiam, the 2016 Rio Olympic gold medalists, is on a roll in Belgrade.

Nafissatou Thiam started her day by winning the 60 meter hurdles in a personal best of 8.23, scoring 1077 points. Xenia Krizsian of Hungary hurdled 8.30 for 1061 points.

In the high jump, Nafissatou Thiam just started to hint at her fitness, clearing 1.96m and having two close misses at 1.99meters. The 1.96 meter clearance was a Championship Best. British coach Toni Minichiello, who coached Jessi Ennis Hills during most of her career, and a pretty darn good observer of talent was impressed with Ms. Thiam. Toni noted that Nafissatou had to wait nearly two hours to get to near 2 meters. He was impressed with her talent and her endurance. In second, after the high jump was Ivona Dadic, of Austria, who cleared 1.87m for a PB and 1064 points. Thiam took 1184 with her 1.96m clearance for 2261 to Dadic's 2095.

This writer was very impressed with the shot put. Nafissatou Thiam threw 14.11m, then BoOM! 15.29m, then 14.62m. Her 15.29 meter throw overcame the PB of Gyorgiy Zsivoszky-Farkas of Hungary, who had throw 14.95m on her first attempt (her series: 14.95m, 14.11m, then 14.92m!)

After the first three events, Nafissatou noted that she has not trained much for indoors, so she has been pleasantly surprised with her first three events. After three events, Thiam leads with 3141, Dadic in second with 2884 and Gyorgiy Zsivoszky-Farkas with 2873.

The women's 3000 meters, was interesting. After a half lap where no one wanted to lead, the first heat of the 3000m for women resembled a 50k race walk. Then, Giulia Viola, Italy, lead the first kilometer in 3:02.54, with Maureen Koster and Eilish McColgan lurking. The second kilometer was run in 6:06.60 and lead by Hellen Klein, Germany. After that, Maureen Koster made a surgical strike and took the lead, upping the pace, as Eilish McColgan, GBR, began her run from fifth or sixth to second.

Maureen Koster, Netherlands, took the close win in 8:57.52 with Eilish McColgan, GBR, in second in 8:57.85, just squeezing in ahead of Giulia Viola, Italy, 8:57.86. In fourth, the final qualifier, Nuria Fernandez, Spain, in 8:58.20. Maureen Koster noted to the media that the "race went faster than I expected. My idea was to take the lead in the last 800 metres. That´s what I did. I felt good and I am really pleased with where I finished."

The second heat was fascinating. Yasmin Can, the Turkish European champion, took off early and won in 8:52.33. Steph Twell, GBR, came in second in 8:55.02, with Charlotta Fougberg, Sweden, in 8:55.21, and Germany's Alina Reh, 8:55.23, who lead early in the race. In fifth, and last qualifier, Laura Muir, who ran 8:55.56 to get a time qualifier. Muir, the European reacord holder at 1000 meters, 2000 meters and 5000 meters, noted that the pace was so painfully slow, that Muir had a bit of trouble managing her pace. Well, watch for a fast pace in the 3000 meter final. Yasmin Can will not give the 3000 meters away without a fight, so that 3000 meter final could be very interesting.

In women's 800m qualifier, Anita Hinriksdottir, Iceland, lead the first heats with 2:02.82. Selena Buchel, Switzerland, ran 2:03.11.

In men's 800m first round, fastest time of day was Andreas Kramer, SWE, who ran a PB of 1:46.86. Also watch Adam Kszczot, two time European champ, who won his heat in 1:48.37.

In the women's 400m, Lea Sprunger has the fastest first round time of 52.55, with Floreia Guie, FRA, 53.15, Zuzana Hejnova, CZE, 53.25, Eilidh Doyle, GBR, 53.28, ready to roll.

In the men's 400 meter round 1, Benjamin Vedel, ESP, lead with fast 46.65, with Pavel Maslak, CZE, two time Euro indoor Champion, 47.57, both having won their heats.

More to come!

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