The Oscars of Belgrade, by J. Stuart Weir


0022_000358.jpgKombank Arena, home of 2017 European Indoor Championships, photo courtesy of European Athletics/Getty Images

It is Monday, 6 March. I am sitting in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express, sucking down an espresso with milk and editing stories. I have had three delightful, but long and exhausting days in Belgrade. Two nights ended at Chicken Kings, a late night refuge for Belgradians who have endurred too many inexpensive Serbian beers, and need sustenance. The final night, I enjoyed a dinner at Chez Nik, a cafe by the Kombank Arena, then, found some friends and spent a couple of hours chatting about athletics.

This is Stuart Weir's last piece for the European Athletics Indoor Championships, and I am sad. Stu has this wonderful way of opening my eyes to athletes, events and situations that always appear at various events.

That clarity of vision is key for me in working with the writers we do around the world. Their views, their insights help us see the absolute beauty and emotion of our sport, and just how fortunate we are to be involved in this global sport of athletics.

Thanks Stuart, see you another 18 places this year.

The Oscars of Belgrade as seen by Stuart Weir
Medal table: GB finishing second in medal table and of course above Germany - are you watching Mrs Merkel!
Best use of time: The one hundredth of a second that Selina Bchel (Switzerland) finished ahead of GB's Shelayna Oskan-Clarke to take gold in 2:00.38 in the 800 metres.
Farce of the day: One official showing a red card to an athlete in the W60 semi-final only for another official to appear 5 seconds later with a green card!
Event with most different coloured cards: Women's 60M red, yellow and green.
Disappointment of the day: The failure of the organizers to hire extra security to stop that wicked Laura Muir having another lap of honour (laps of honor by British athletes must be written with British English spelling).
Official of the day: The official who today actually nodded her approval to the Muir lap of honour.
Why Scotland must not be allowed another referendum on independence: We cannot afford to lose double gold-medallist, Laura Muir and bronze medallist, Eilish McColgan or relay medallist Eilidh Doyle.
One for the future? : Fabrizio Donato Triple jump bronze medallist, aged just 40.
You've got to feel for him: Max Hess tripled-jumped a world lead 17.52 in qualifying but only 17.12 for bronze in the final.
Muse of the day: "Is reading Mr. Weir's stories like eating haggis?" (Mr Larry Eder on RunBlogRun)
Moment of the day: Ivana Spanovic leading to a world lead and PR of 7.16 with her second jump.
Second Moment of the day: Ivana Spanovic setting a new PR and WL with her next jump - 7.24
Best performance by a Russian athlete: Darya Klishina 4th women's long jump, the only Russian in the event, competing as an authorised neutral athlete
Quote of the day: "I think before I had the training, but not the confidence. Now the confidence is there it shows as much in my performance", double gold medallist, Laura Muir.
Voice of ambition and motivation: "I got a silver - it was close to a gold, but not enough". Shelayna Oskan-Clarke
Not living up to her name: Rebekka Haase, 8th in the 60 metres. Her German name means hare!
Best indoor athletics arena I have even been to: Kombank Arena, Belgrade.

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