GB & NI MATCH M HAUL AS THE YOUNGSTERS STEAL THE SHOW AT THE EUROPEAN INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Trackstaa reviews a thrilling final couple of days at the European Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland.
Given their respective ages, it is easy to forget that arguably two of the most dominant athletes at the European athletics championships, in Jakob Ingebrigsten and Keely Hodgkinson are just 20 and 19 respectively. We have all known about Jakob’s talent for some time now, he demonstrated just how quick he could go after running a 3:28.68 to break Mo Farah’s European record in Monaco last year. Keely however, has only just recently burst on the scene at a senior level, but after breaking the world U20 World record in the 800m last month (1:59.03), she is another one from whom we can rightly expect big things after she claimed her first major gold medal and became the youngest British athlete to win at the European indoor championship for over 50 years.
Jakob, in claiming the double win in the 1500m (3:38.06) and the 3000m becomes the first athlete to do so since, Mo Farah. Often criticised for lacking the necessary know-how to win the big races, Jakob got his tactics spot on in both of these races and ran them with the poise and calmness you would expect from someone with tonnes of major race experience. He utterly dominated; the other competitors, if we’re honest, were merely extras in the background whilst Jakob performed the leading role. They danced to his tune throughout, he strung them out in a nice little line, pushing the pace, nudging the needle, turning the screw. A master-piece.
Even after the initial scare of disqualification, which to everyone bar Polish athletics fans seemed grossly unfair, Jakob was fairly circumspect about his own performance “I ran according to my plan and I am surprised my opponents let me do my own thing without interrupting me”. Probably because you’re much faster than all of them, Jakob.
For Keely too, her plan was executed to perfection and when she decided to put her foot down and push the pace, the rest of the field just couldn’t live with her. After a fairly pedestrian first 400m, Keely pulled the field along and closed in a speedy last 200 of 28.23 to leave her rivals trailing in her wake. On the fact that she is just 19, Keely said “I’ve always thought it doesn’t matter how old you are, as long as you’re healthy and doing things right you can be capable of anything”, and on her future prospects, she added “I’m just going to carry on and try and enjoy it and put myself forward with the senior girls because it’s ok saying: ‘Let’s go to the Olympics’”.
GB enjoyed more success on the final day in the 4 x 400m relay, with the men’s team securing a bronze in 3:06.70 and the women’s team a silver in a hugely impressive 3:28.20. For GB as a whole, the medal tally looks rather impressive, matching the previous record set in Glasgow in 2018. The only other gold medal went to Amy-Eloise Markovc after she won a closely fought 3000m final in a personal best time of 8:46.43, finishing ahead of compatriot Verity Ockenden who took bronze in another personal best time of 8:46.60.
Notable mentions need to go to the wonderfully talented Mondo Duplantis, Swedish pole-vault sensation, who took gold with a height of 6.05m to break the championship record. Swiss athlete Ajla Del Ponte, in the absence of Brit Dina Asher-Smith, stormed to victory with a stunning 7.03 in the women’s 60m final
Elsewhere, favourite Andrew Pozzi took silver in the 60m hurdles, despite matching his previous PB of 7.43 and Jamie Webb, fresh off breaking Seb Coe’s indoor record last month, claimed bronze in a thrilling men’s 800m.
Another Highlight was 400m hurdler and 21 year old Femke Bol, who stormed to victory in the Women’s 400m.
Full Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team Medal list
Keely Hodgkinson – 800m
Amy-Eloise Markovc – 3000m
Holly Archer – 1500m
Andrew Pozzi – 60m hurdles
Cindy Sember – 60m hurdles
4 x 400m relay (women’s)
Verity Ockenden – 3000m
Jodie Williams – 400m
Holly Bradshaw – Pole Vault
Tiffany Porter – 60m hurdles
Jamie Webb – 800m
4 x 400m relay (men’s)