Report11 Jun 2024

Kaczmarek and Doom impress over one lap at European Championships in Rome


Natalia Kaczmarek wins the European 400m title in Rome (© Getty Images)

Natalia Kaczmarek unleashed a Polish record of 48.98 to edge Ireland’s Rhasidat Adeleke (49.07) to gold in a thrilling women’s 400m final at the European Championships in Rome on Monday (10).

The 26-year-old timed her effort to perfection against Adeleke, putting pressure on the Irishwoman from the outset by hitting 200m in 23.59, with Adeleke just behind in 23.69. Adeleke came charging at her around the bend, the pair turning for home locked together, but it was Kaczmarek who proved strongest in the final 50 metres, the world silver medallist clocking the fastest time by a European since 1996 and breaking Irina Szewinska’s national record of 49.28, which had stood since 1976. Bronze went to Lieke Klaver of the Netherlands in 50.08.

“Coming to the start, I was dreaming about the Polish record but this 48.98 was something more than my imagination,” said Kaczmarek. “I was very well prepared for this and wanted to improve my run. I started pretty fast but the finish was very hard because there was a lot to fight for.”

The men’s 400m also produced a riveting head-to-head duel, Britain’s Charlie Dobson battling world indoor champion Alexander Doom of Belgium down the home straight, with Doom edging victory in a championship record of 44.15. Dobson wasn’t far behind, setting a PB of 44.38, while Liemarvin Bonevacia of the Netherlands took bronze with 44.88. 

“I knew I had to start a little bit faster so I was focusing on that,” said Doom. “For the rest of the season, my goal is to try to get the medal with relays at the Olympics and maybe anindividual one too. I am totally taped up so I was not even confident if I’d start the race because I was full of pain. And to finish the race like this, it’s just amazing.”

Alexander Doom wins the European 400m title in Rome

Alexander Doom wins the European 400m title in Rome (© Getty Images)

There was an upset in the men’s 200m as Switzerland’s Timothe Mumenthaler powered to victory from lane nine in 20.28, with Italy’s Filippo Tortu second in 20.41 and Switzerland’s William Reais third in 20.47.

“I was hoping for a medal but it would be bold to say I expected gold,” said Mumenthaler. “Tonight the magic happened. I was kind of isolated in lane nine and on the home straight I just thought, 'You did a nice turn, keep going, keep pushing, finish strong’.”

In the women’s pole vault, Switzerland’s Angelica Moser equalled Nicole Buchler’s national record to take gold with a first-time clearance of 4.78m, having passed 4.73m after her first failure. Greece’s Aikaterini Stefanidi took silver with 4.73m, edging Britain’s Molly Caudery on countback.

France’s Alexis Miellet had to draw on all his speed and strength to defeat teammate Djilali Bedrani in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, 8:14.01 to 8:14.36, with Germany’s Karl Bebendorf taking bronze in 8:14.41.

There was joy for the home crowd in the women’s hammer, where Italy’s Sara Fantini unleashed a 74.18m effort to take gold ahead of Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk (72.92m) and France’s Rose Loga, who set a PB of 72.68m.

On Sunday (9), Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa started the day in fine style for the host nation, the reigning European 10,000m champion drawing on all his track speed to kick to gold in the men’s half marathon ahead of teammate Pietro Riva, winning by one second in 1:01:03. Germany’s Amanal Petros took bronze in 1:01:07. Italy took the team event ahead of Israel and Germany.

The women’s half marathon saw a dominant display by Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal, who backed up her 5000m silver with gold in 1:08:09. Romania’s Joan Chelimo Melly had to settle for silver in 1:08:55, with Britain’s Calli Hauger-Thackery taking bronze in 1:08:58. The British took the team event ahead of Germany and Spain.

Back in the stadium on Sunday night, Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith came from behind to power to victory in the women’s 100m, clocking 10.99 (0.7m/s), with Poland’s Ewa Swoboda taking silver in 11.03, four thousandths of a second ahead of Italy’s Zaynab Dosso (11.03).

“It is definitely a new way to win a race for me, so that’s a plus,” said Asher-Smith. “I am in really great shape, I feel really good but I had a bad start. I can definitely run faster than that.”

Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh shrugged off recent injury concerns to claim her second European title in the women’s high jump, soaring over 2.01m to defeat Serbia’s Angelina Topic (1.97m) and Ukraine’s Iryna Gerashchenko (1.95m).

“It is a good result and it shows that I can jump higher,” said Mahuchikh. “But for tonight, my goal is fulfilled and I did not feel the pain in my hamstring.”

Poland’s Wojciech Nowicki edged victory in a high-quality men’s hammer final where the top three surpassed 80 metres. Nowicki seized command with his second-round effort of 80.14m before Hungary’s Bence Halasz surpassed him with 80.49m, but Nowicki pulled it out of the fire on his final attempt, launching an 80.95m effort, a season’s best. Bronze went to Ukraine’s Mykhaylo Kokhan with 80.18m.

The women’s 3000m steeplechase boiled down to a three-way tussle between France’s Alice Finot, Germany’s Gesa Felicitas Krause and Britain’s Lizzie Bird, with Finot having the most gears on the closing lap and taking gold in 9:16.22, with Krause second in 9:18.06 and Bird third in 9:18.39.

There was more French gold in the men’s 800m, Gabriel Tual unleashing an irrepressible home-straight surge off the front to win in 1:44.87, with Spain’s Mohamed Attaoui taking silver in 1:45.20 ahead of Italy’s Catalin Tecuceanu (1:45.40).

In the women’s 1500m, Ciara Mageean joined Sonia O’Sullivan as the only athletes to have won individual gold for Ireland in the championship’s 90-year history, biding her time through a steady opening (2:16.36 at 800m) and then finding a gap with 100 metres to run and kicking clear. After bronze in 2016 and silver in 2022, she won her first major championship title in 4:04.66, with Britain’s Georgia Bell second in 4:05.33 and France’s Agathe Guillemot third in 4:05.69.

Spain’s Ana Peleteiro-Compaore equalled the world lead of 14.85m to take gold in the women’s triple jump, her fourth-round effort handing her a comfortable victory over Turkey’s Tugba Danismaz, who set a national record of 14.57m.

At the halfway stage of the decathlon, Norway’s Sander Skotheim is in pole position on 4566 points ahead of Estonia’s Johannes Erm (4541) and France’s Makenson Gletty (4539). World record-holder Kevin Mayer remains on track for Olympic qualification, sitting eighth overnight on 4230, while Germany’s Niklas Kaul sits 13th on 4139.

Skotheim started his competition with 10.82 in the 100m followed by a wind-assisted 7.93m (4.0m/s) in the long jump, 13.96m in the shot put, 2.17m in the high jump and a PB of 47.50 in the 400m. Erm set personal bests in the 100m (10.60) and 400m (46.81). Gletty set personal bests in the 100m (10.55), long jump (7.59m) and 400m (47.60).

Cathal Dennehy for World Athletics

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