Stuart Weir is in Bydgoszcz to cover the 2019 European team championships for RunBlogRun. We hope that you enjoy his observations.
European Team Championships Day 1
The opening night of the three-day European Team Championships was distinctly underwhelming. Of 26 events, two field events were finals, with 4 non-scoring (exhibition) races and the remaining 20 races prelims.
In previous years there were two finals of 6 athletes in each with places awarded on best times across the two races. This year the organizers introduced prelims with 8 from 12 reaching the final. I was not the only one unconvinced by the change.
The ZdzisÅ‚aw Krzyszkowiak Stadium was completed in 1960 and rebuilt in 2008, named after ZdzisÅ‚aw Krzyszkowiak, a Polish athlete who won Olympic gold in 1960 (Rome) in the 3000m steeplechase. It has a capacity of 20,000 but tonight no more than a quarter of that number paid to see a series of fairly pointless prelims.
Claudine Vita (Germany) won the women’s discus with 61.09 and Julian Weber won the men’s javelin with 86.86. That leaves Germany top with 24 points and Poland second with 19 after two events (12 points for a win down to 1 for 12th). Britain are bottom with 6 points as we always struggle in the throws.
All the British runners made their finals. The stand-out performances were Jodie Williams fastest in the 200m and the only athlete under 23 seconds. Richard Kilty fastest in the men’s 200m (20.72), showing the new diversity of the former World and European 60m champion. Daryll Neita was fastest in the 100m in 11.19. In judging the times remember these were prelims with athletes slowing when assured of a top three qualifying place. Britain also won the 4 by 400m mixed relay – shame it was a non-scoring event.
One performance I need to mention is that 39 year-old Angel David Rodriguez (Spain) lined up in the 100 meters alongside Henrik Larsson (Sweden) who is 19. Despite giving away 20 years Rodriguez Finished ahead of Larsson.
With 18 finals tomorrow (Day 2) we will have a clearer view of the likely winners. It looks like a shoot-out between Poland and Germany. GB will finish somewhere between third and sixth.