Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou, photo by Getty Images/ European Athletics
Stuart Weir wrote all of the pieces on the 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships. His love of the sport and appreciation of the athletes is obvious. We thank Stuart for giving us a great view of the action in the Emirates Arena.
The best women in their field
With the first jump of the women’s long jump competition the 2018 European outdoor champion, Malaika Mihambo (Germany) recorded 6.82 but by the end of round one she had dropped to third as Ivana Spanovic (Serbia), the defending champion, was measured to 6.90 followed by Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova of Belarus leaping to 6.93. in round 4 Mihambo improved to 6.83 only for Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk (Ukraine) to produce what proved to be the bronze medal jump,6.84. That was Mihambo’s only other legal jump alongside four fouls. Spanovic was not going to relinquish her title easily and she produced a jump of 6.99 in round 5.
High quality jumping saw Spanovic triumph. She commented afterwards: “Gold was my goal. I came here for first position and I wasnÂ´t going to leave happy any other way. I was sure I could make seven metres easily, but I made a lot of mistakes. I kept waiting and waiting, but in the end I didnÂ´t need it. I did enough to get the gold”.
An absorbing pole-vault competition saw Anzelika Sidorova (Authorized Neutral Athlete) triumph with 4.85 with Holly Bradshaw (GB) second with 4.75. Below them there were five athletes who cleared 4.65 with Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou (Greece) getting the bronze. Olympic champion, Ekaterini Stefanidi was fourth.
Sidorova said: “ItÂ´s not simple to win at a European championship, so this means a lot. There is serious competition and at a high level. All competitors prepare well. I decided to jump higher to improve my personal best by one centimetre”.
In the high jump, Mariya Lasitskene (Authorized Neutral Athlete) won with 2.01 from Yuliya Levchenko (Ukraine) who cleared 1.99, Airine Palsyte (Lithuania), the defending champion, took bronze on count-back after she and Kataryna Tabashnyk both cleared 1.97. Lasitskene commented: “I felt it was a very good performance in a great atmosphere. I really enjoyed it. What I like about high jumping is battling in competitions and being the best. I am not thinking about the outdoor season at the moment. First I am taking a holiday and then I will focus on the outdoor season from May”.
There was high drama and excellent quality in all three events dismissing any thought that it was only Europe and only indoors.
Leave a Reply