The fans at The ZdzisÅ‚aw Krzyszkowiak Stadium, Bydgoszcz, Poland, photo by Stuart Weir
This is the second day piece by Stuart Weir. Why do I love Stuart’s coverage of events? Stuart finds the stories behind the stories. The EAA is challenging itself to grow in the future. Money and sponsors are needed, but the programs are coming together. One step at a time.
European team championship – end of day 2
At just past the halfway stage in the European team championship (Super League), hosts Poland are in the lead. The top six in the standings are as follows:
However, with 18 finals (each worth 12 points to the winner) to be contested on the final day, there is plenty of scope for movement. And, of course, it’s not just about how many events you win but about consistent point scoring across the board.
The day ended with high drama and, I have to say, one of those situations which our sport does not handle well. The crowd went home – myself included – having seen France win the final event of the day, the men’s sprint relay, gaining enough points to move ahead of Poland. France were the halfway leaders.
By the time I got back to my hotel France had been disqualified and Poland reinstated at the top of the table. I am sure that the judges were correct in disqualifying France for a lane infringement. It is just such a shame that the process involves announcing the result and then changing it a considerable time afterwards, leaving the crowd unaware of the change or the reasons for it. Not that I’m complaining about the disqualification of France and the promotion of GB to race winners!
There was a much better crowd of for the Saturday session and the home crowd were rewarded by wins for MichaÅ‚ Haratyk (men’s shot), Wojciech Nowicki (men’s hammer), Marcin Lewandowski (Men’s 1500m), Patryk Dobek (400H) and Justyna ÅšwiÄ™ty-Ersetic (women’s 400m). Polish team captain, Lewandowski said, “The crowd really inspired me today. I’m very happy to have achieved this win in my home stadium as the team captain. It’s another valuable experience before the World Championships. I may be an old fox, but I can still learn something from every race.”
World Champion, Ekaterini Stefanidi won the women’s pole vault with 4.70 and took the opportunity afterwards to express her disappointment that there was no prize money at stake this weekend, saying: “This is a professional sport and we’re not volunteer athletes. This is our job so we can’t be coming here to compete and perform, do our best and break championship records for nothing”.
With the Super League being cut from 12 to 8 for next time, the bottom five countries will drop out. As things stand that would be Ukraine, Greece, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden.
There is a lot to play for at both ends of the table on day 2.