Miltiadis Tentoglou in the long jump at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 (© Getty Images)
Miltiadis Tentoglou produced further evidence of his standing as a championship performer beyond compare today as he won long jump gold at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 with a massive second-round effort of 8.55m that proved beyond the dogged efforts of a hugely talented field.
The Greek athlete won European indoor titles either side of his 2018 European outdoor victory, and at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, with his last jump, he equalled the 8.41m achieved by Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria and won by dint of his second-best effort. Now, on his 24th birthday, he has another medal of the ideal colour in his collection.
Tentoglou may have assumed as much once he had emerged from the pit, a bundle of nervous energy, to see the green light go up for an effort that was almost 30cm better than the 8.26m by Swiss multi-eventer Simon Ehammer that had topped the 2022 world list, and was only seven centimetres shy of the championship record set by the legendary Cuban Ivan Pedroso, who won this title five times.
As things turned out, the challenges arrived – but fell crucially short.
Marquis Dendy of the United States moved into silver medal position with a third-round effort of 8.27m, but was displaced in turn in the final round by the perennially competitive Swede, Thomas Montler, who secured second place with a national indoor record of 8.38m.
Tentoglou began the session looking very unhappy about the foul ruling on his very healthy-looking opening effort, a close decision, and soon afterwards it was the Olympic bronze medallist, Maykel Masso of Cuba, who was also rueing a more obvious foul in landing well down the pit.
By the end of the first round there were eight fouls from the 14 jumpers – a measure, perhaps, of the general sense of tension.
Tentoglou’s second effort, by contrast, radically changed the shape of the competition as his rapidity on the board was converted to effective length and he landed out at 8.55m.
Who had the talent to get close to that? Well Masso did, as his misfiring efforts and Olympic exploits made clear, but after registering fouls on his first two efforts he was in danger of failing to make the top eight after three jumps and thus missing the chance to take a further three.
And, sadly, that came to pass.
Once his mercurial talent was denied a further run-out, the result was effectively decided – although it ended up closer than might at first have been expected. If it was not quite the equal of the women’s shot put final in intensity, it wasn’t far short.
Respective efforts of 8.19m and 8.14m by Jarrion Lawson of the United States and South Africa’s Cheswill Johnson meant five men on the night bettered eight metres.
Mike Rowbottom for World Athletics
|MEN'S LONG JUMP MEDALLISTS|
|🥇||Miltiadis Tentoglou 🇬🇷 GRE||8.55m|
|🥈||Thobias Montler 🇸🇪 SWE||8.38m|
|🥉||Marquis Dendy 🇺🇸 USA||8.27m|