Report07 Jul 2024

Schilder, Laros and Bol boost home pride in Hengelo


Jessica Schilder after winning the shot put in Hengelo (© Dan Vernon)

Dutch stars Jessica Schilder, Niels Laros and Femke Bol were among the top performers on a cold and rainy day at the FBK Games – a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting – in Hengelo on Sunday (7).

Schilder, who retained her European shot put title in Rome last month, lay down a huge marker for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Despite the damp and rainy conditions, she produced a national record of 20.33m with her final effort to beat double world champion Chase Jackson of the United States and China’s Olympic champion Gong Lijiao.

A second-round season’s best of 20.00m for Gong looked likely to earn victory until Jackson produced a throw of 20.07m with her penultimate effort. But there was one more twist to come, and Schilder lifted a big roar from the crowd before jumping for joy herself as she heard news of her record. “The sixth throw – I really wanted to make something special out of it,” Schilder said.

Niels Laros had already given home fans reasons to be cheerful by winning the men’s 1000m in a national and world U20 record of 2:14.37.

“I didn't really have any expectations for today, because it is my first real race of the season,” he said. “My training went well, so I came here for the win. It is great to not only win, but also run the world U20 record.”

Niels Laros after winning the 1000m in Hengelo

Niels Laros after winning the 1000m in Hengelo (© Dan Vernon)

The 19-year-old, who won European U18 titles at 1500m and 3000m in 2022 and European U20 versions last year, finished well inside the target mark of 2:15.05 set by Marko Koers in 1997.

Bol also pleased the home crowd by winning the 400m flat in a meeting record of 50.02.

The world 400m hurdles champion, who will concentrate on that individual event in Paris as she seeks to challenge the Olympic champion and world record holder Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, was followed home by Martina Weil in a Chilean record of 51.05.

On a day when Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon had improved her own 1500m world record to 3:49.04, 2019 world champion Sifan Hassan faded to fifth in that discipline in Hengelo.

It was a result that may influence the 31-year-old’s choice of events at the Olympics in Paris, where she may now decide not to prioritise improving the 1500m bronze she earned in 2021 at the Tokyo Games, where she won over 5000m and 10,000m.

Hassan, who had decided against running the 10,000m the evening before, was overtaken around the final bend by Melissa Courtney-Bryant of Britain, eventual winner in 4:03.58, and USA’s Dani Jones, who was second in 4:03.78. Two others moved past Hassan in the final 50 metres – Yolanda Ngarambe of Sweden (4:04.50), and home runner Maureen Koster (4:04.59).

Hassan was characteristically enigmatic afterwards. “I think I did my warm-up too early and then I cooled down before the race,” she said. “Everything went well, but I just made a mistake to cool myself down too much.

“I don't think it says anything about the shape I'm in. I still have three weeks to have good training and then I will decide which distances I will run in Paris. At this moment I don't have a goal for Paris, but for now I want to be the best in all distances and then I will decide.”

Burkina Faso’s world champion Hugues Fabrice Zango produced a season’s best and meeting record of 17.57m with his final effort in the triple jump to win his ninth out of 10 competitions this year.

Until that point, victory appeared destined for Algeria’s Mohammed Triki, whose second-round effort of 17.07m gave him an early lead. Third place went to Germany’s Max Hess with 17.03m.

Britain’s world and Olympic 800m silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson, who retained her European title in Rome last month, won in classic fashion as she saw off the lingering challenge of South Africa’s Prudence Sekgodiso, a winner at the Marrakech and Oslo Diamond League meetings.

Hodgkinson, who ran a world-leading 1:55.78 in Eugene earlier in the season, pulled away in the final straight to finish 10 metres clear in 1:57.36, with Sekgodiso clocking 1:58.75.

“I wanted a little bit more with the time but I haven't properly gone after an 800m since Eugene and that was such a different race so I'm happy to be back out here doing my best,” Hodgkinson said.

“I was glad I decided to run the Europeans and now I'm just fully focused on Paris and everything is going well. I just have more race before: the London Diamond League. I can't wait, that's an iconic one so I'm really looking forward to it.”

Asked again to comment on the absence of the defending champion, Athing Mu, from Paris following her fall at the US Trials, Hodgkinson responded: “Honestly, I was gutted because I feel like that race has been really hyped up and it's an unfortunate thing that has happened. I'm really sad not to see her there but I'm sure we'll have many battles in the future.”

Puerto Rico’s Olympic 100m hurdles champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn won in chilly, overcast conditions in a meeting record of 12.39, pushed to the line by home athlete Nadine Visser, who set a national record of 12.46.

Third-placed Marione Fourie of South Africa took third place in a national record of 12.49, with Poland’s Pia Skrzyszowska fourth in 12.57.

Kenya’s Commonwealth champion Ferdinand Omanyala won the men’s 100m in 10.01 with Ronnie Baker of the United States second in 10.03 and third place going to Canada’s Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse, who clocked 10.07.

Home interest had centred on 40-year-old Churandy Martina, running in Hengelo for the 17th and last time and still carrying hopes of contesting a sixth Olympics. He finished ninth and last in 10.47.

Mykolas Alekna in the discus in Hengelo

Mykolas Alekna in the discus in Hengelo (© Dan Vernon)

Lithuania’s 21-year-old world record-holder Mykolas Alekna earned victory in the discus with a first-round best of 69.07m, with Australia’s Matthew Denny second on 68.17m and Lukas Weisshaidinger, who took silver to Alekna’s bronze at last month’s European Championships, third with 66.82m.

Elsewhere, Ethiopia’s Telahun Bekele won a tactical men’s 5000m in 13:01.12 from Kenya’s Nicholas Kipkorir (13:02.25).

Mike Rowbottom for World Athletics

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