Report08 Jun 2024

World-leading championship records for Tentoglou and Samba-Mayela at European Championships in Rome


Miltiadis Tentoglou wins the long jump at the European Championships in Rome (© Getty Images)

Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou and France’s Cyrena Samba-Mayela produced two of standout performances on the opening days of the European Championships in Rome on Friday (7) and Saturday (8).

Tentoglou won his third straight European outdoor title with a world lead and championship record of 8.65m (-0.3m/s), coming up just 1cm shy of Louis Tsatoumas’ national record, while Samba-Mayela powered to victory in the 100m hurdles in a championship record and world lead of 12.31 (0.8m/s). Meanwhile Olympic champions Nafi Thiam, Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Marcell Jacobs all underlined their potential for repeat victories by successfully defending their European titles.

Tentoglou dashed the hopes of the home crowd and rising star Mattia Furlani at a rocking Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night. Tentoglou took an early lead in the long jump with a world-leading 8.42m, then the Italian teenager responded by breaking his own world U20 record with 8.38m (-0.5m/s). But Tentoglou struck back with 8.49m in the third round, then unleashed his 8.65m effort in the fifth round, which he repeated in the final round (remarkably with the exact same wind reading of -0.3m/s) when the gold was assured. Simon Ehammer of Switzerland took bronze with 8.31m.

“My coach told me after the first 8.65m that I should push myself even more because I could do it,” said Tentoglou. “I told him that I did five jumps around 8.50m and felt tired. ‘I am dead, I gave my everything.’ And he said: ‘Come on, you can do it.’ And I did.”

Samba-Mayela was foot perfect in a loaded 100m hurdles final, this year’s world indoor silver medallist igniting hopes of a home gold at the Paris Olympics as she blazed to victory in 12.31 ahead of Switzerland’s Ditaji Kambundji, who set a European U23 record of 12.40 in second, and defending champion Pia Skrzyszowska of Poland, who set a PB of 12.42.

“I have never felt so alive,” said Samba-Mayela, who relocated her training base to the US last year. “Everything is going well and I hope it will keep well until Paris. I am walking on a positive path.”

Cyrena Samba-Mayela wins the 100m hurdles at the European Championships

Cyrena Samba-Mayela wins the 100m hurdles at the European Championships (© Getty Images)

In the men’s 100m, Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs rose to the occasion in fine style on home turf, powering to victory in 10.02 (0.7m/s) to lead an Italian one-two ahead of Chituru Ali (10.05), with Britain’s Romell Glave third in 10.06.

The Italian gold rush had been set off earlier in the night in the 110m hurdles, Lorenzo Ndele Simonelli powering to glory in 13.05 (0.6m/s) ahead of Spain’s Enrique Llopis, who set a PB of 13.16 to take silver.

In the men’s shot put, Italy’s Leonardo Fabbri unleashed a championship record of 22.45m to take gold, with Croatia’s Filip Mihaljevic second with 21.20m and Poland’s Michal Haratyk taking bronze with 20.94m.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen re-established his supremacy by winning the men’s 5000m title with apparent ease, the Norwegian sweeping to the front ahead of his final lap of 53.14 – including a 25-second last 200m – to win in 13:20.11. Britain’s George Mills was second in 13:21.38 and Switzerland’s Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu, a former member of the Athlete Refugee Team, claimed a brilliant bronze medal in 13:21.61.

Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam claimed her third straight European title in the heptathlon, setting a championship record of 6848, the third-best score of her career. The two-time Olympic champion had a 35-point lead after the first day, sitting on 3955 points. She clocked 13.74 in the 100m hurdles, cleared 1.95m in the high jump, threw 15.06m in the shot put, then clocked 24.81 in the 200m to put herself firmly in command. She followed it up with a 53.00m javelin throw, 6.59m long jump and rounded it off with a 2:11.79 PB in the 800m.

“I did not know what to expect because this was my first competition of the season,” said Thiam. “I thought you need to get a few more to get your marks. But I really took it as a first step to Paris and I am super happy about where I am at this moment. The goal is to be even better and before Paris, we will try to sharpen the form. We will try to work on sprints and specifically on the starts.”

Silver went to France’s Auriana Lazraq-Khlass, who had a huge breakthrough with five personal bests, setting an overall PB of 6635, while bronze went to Belgium’s Noor Vidts who set a PB of 6596. Britain’s world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson withdrew after three events due to a niggle and had been in ninth place at the time following a 13.66-second run in the 100m hurdles, a 1.83m clearance in the high jump and a 12.44m throw in the shot put.

In the women’s discus, Sandra Elkasevic opened with her winning effort of 67.04m, handing her an astonishing record seventh European title ahead of Dutch thrower Jorinde van Klinken, who added to her silver in the shot put a day earlier with a best effort of 65.99m.

Sweden’s Perseus Karlstrom claimed his first European title with victory in the men’s 20km race walk, clocking 1:19:13 to come home ahead of Spain’s Paul McGrath (1:19:31) and Italy’s Francesco Fortunato (1:19:54).

Italy’s Nadia Battocletti got the championships off to a flying start on the opening night of action on Friday, her victory in the women’s 5000m decided by an electrifying last 200m. Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal led for much of the race, whittling the filed with each kilometre, but she couldn’t shake the Italian who claimed her first European senior title in a championship record of 14:35.29, with Grovdal second in 14:38.62 and Spain’s Marta Garcia taking bronze.

“It was a tough race, it was not easy for me to maintain that pace but in the last two laps I felt that I had the opportunity to take something very important,” said Battocletti. “I went through some physical troubles in the last month and I was not too confident to get this medal but all the friends of mine and all the Italian supporters gave me a lot of energy.”

The first gold of the championships went to Italy a few hours earlier, with Antonella Palmisano dominating the women’s 20km race walk to win in 1:28:08 ahead of teammate Valentina Trapletti (1:28:37). There was drama in the battle for bronze with Spain’s Laura Garcia-Caro grabbing a flag and commencing her celebrations early – too early. She was caught for third in the final metres by Ukraine’s Lyudmila Olyanovska, with both clocking 1:28:48.

It was a memorable night for Ireland, a nation that had just one previous champion in the 90-year history of the event – Sonia O’Sullivan, who won three gold medals at the 1994 and 1998 editions. But in the mixed 4x400m, their quartet of Chris O’Donnell, Rhasidat Adeleke, Thomas Barr and Sharlene Mawdsley swept to victory in 3:09.92.

Mawdsley clocked a 49.40-second anchor leg to power away to gold, adding to their third-place finish at last month’s World Relays, with Italy taking silver with 3:10.69 and Femke Bol unleashing a 49.21-second anchor to get the Netherlands up for bronze with 3:10.73.

“I was secretly confident that with the team that we have out here and how well they were running at the moment, especially after World Relays, that we could come home with the gold,” said Barr. “And that is exactly what we did.”

In the men’s discus, Slovenia’s Kristjan Ceh pulled off an upset to take gold – the first ever for his country at the championships – with a throw of 68.08m in the second round. Silver went to Austria’s Lukas Weisshaidinger with 67.70m, while world record-holder Mykolas Alekna of Lithuania was third with 67.48m. Sweden’s Daniel Stahl was next best with 66.84m.

The women’s shot put saw a Dutch one-two as Jessica Schilder edged her teammate Jorinde van Klinken to gold, retaining her title with a best throw of 18.77m.

Cathal Dennehy for World Athletics

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