After two days of athletic battle the Russian team claim victory at the 4th European Athletics Team Championships held at Gateshead Stadium.
On the last afternoon of the championships at the Gateshead International Stadium, it was again the same name on top of the table at the 4th European Athletics Team Championships. Russia were the champions for the third time in a row, winning by just seven points!
Started nice and bright with a packed stadium. First event of the day was the women’s pole vault in which Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg was the winner with 4.60m just beating Russia’s 4.55m. Unfortunately GBR Holly Bleasdale could not make her chosen start height of 4.25m.
Next up was one of my favourite events of the day – Men’s hammer throw. Poland’s Pawel Fajdek threw the winning throw of 77.00m on his 1st attempt. Impressive! GBR Mark Dry came in 11th place with 68.30m.
The media tribune was in the perfect place for the women’s triple jump, this excited me and the spectators around us. The outright winner was Ukraines Olha Saladuha with 14.49m. GBR Yamile Aldama coming 4th with 13.90m.
Back to the track for the women’s 800m, GBR Jessica Judd stormed away to win it by a fraction of a second, fantastic to watch, her time 2.00.82.
Returning to the ring for the men’s shot put, Germany’s David Storl winning with an impressive 20.47m.
Now for the long distance 3000m event, local north-east girl Laura Weightman a firm favourite and with an amazing support from the crowd came 2nd with 9.03.11, Russia’s Elena Korobkina 1st with 9.01.45.
GBR were starting to pick up some momentum now. This was helped on by their win in the women’s 400m hurdles with Eilidh Child in 54,42 secs, and coming second in the men’s 1500m with Charlie Grice in 3.39.76, the winner being Turkey with 3.38.57.
On the track the women’s steeple chase has begun. Russia Natalia Aristarkhova running away with this at a time of 9.30.64. GBR Lennie Waite managed a respectable 5th with 9.56.19.
Nearing the last few events and GBR needed to keep those points coming, they did this with a win in the women’s 400m with Perri Shakes-Drayton 50.50 secs, a championship record!!!
The women’s javelin throw was the last field event of day one. Germany’s Christina Obergfoll a comfortable winner with 62.64m. GBR Izzy Jeffs could only pull out 50.27m on the day.
The event everyone had been waiting for arrived, the men’s 5000m. Olympic champion Mo Farah started off quiet at the back of the pack only to go front in the last two laps, then the bell rang for the last lap which sent him sprinting to an epic finish with a time of 14.10.00, amazing to watch!!!
The last two events were the women’s and men’s 4 x 100m replay. The GBR women managed 5th overall with 43.52 secs, winners being the Ukraine with 42.62 secs. In the men’s GBR raced to 1st place with a time of 38.39 another championship record!!!
What a fantastic way to end day one. I couldn’t wait for day two.
Collection of photos from Day One
The typical british weather had returned for day two forcing a few of the events including the pole vault and high jump indoors. Those in the main arena were glued to the big screen to see the outcome as it had a big say on the final result.
Until the very end, the lead changed hands between Russia and Germany but that was not the case at the bottom as Belarus, Greece and Norway were relegated.
In the end, Maria Kuchina’s personal best of 1.98m gave her team 12 final maximum points to rubberstamp their glory over Germany.
With just two events left, Russia were was just half a point ahead – 331.5 to 331.
But as Kuchina finished four places ahead of Germany’s Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch who had a best of 1.92m, Russia’s men finished second and ahead of fourth placed Germany in the final track event, the 4x400m.
On the two previous occasions Russia had won these European Athletics Team Championships with emphatic victories. Not this time, and it made for fantastic viewing.
But after four individual victories on Saturday, Russia won six more events on this second day as they confirmed their place as the best team in Europe.
Hansjörg Wirz, the President of European Athletics, said: “The bar has certainly been raised at these excellent European Athletics Team Championships in Gateshead., “The stadium has been packed out, rain or shine, with spectators who have created a memorable atmosphere over the last two days.
“The passionate fans at the stadium and the millions watching at home have shown how well received athletics is in Great Britain and the momentum that our sport picked up during the London 2012 Olympics has been maintained.”
There is no doubt this event will be talked about for a long time – because there were so many twists and turns.
Germany led overnight with 195 points from Russia (194), Great Britain (181), Poland (166), France (164.5), Ukraine (160.5), Spain (123.5), Italy (123), Turkey (102), Greece (76), Belarus (75.5) and Norway (67).
Nineteen events were left to be decided on this final day and the bottom three overnight could not improve on their placings as Turkey edged away from them, with Tarik Langat Akdag winning the 3000m steeplechase to give them 12 key points as they stayed in fourth from bottom.
But at the top, it seemed that every time Germany tried to extend their lead, Russia narrowed the gap.
Then when Russia were in front, Germany did the same and at one stage, the Russians were back in third place with six events to go as Britain made a challenge.
Leading by just 1.5, Germany then found themselves eight points ahead at the top of the table after Christina Schwanitz had triumphed for Germany in the shot put.
At that stage the score was Germany 297, Britain 289 and Russia 287.5
But gradually Russia moved close to victory as they achieved important late wins with Dmitriy Tarabin in the javelin and then Daria Klishina finished second in the long jump with 6.43m as Germany’s Sostehene Taroum Moguenara was back in fifth.
Russia cut the lead to just half a point in the women’s 4x400m relay as, anchored by Ksenia Zadorina, they finished second in 3:29.46, with Germany back in sixth in the race in 3:31.90.
The Russians were now on a roll and it took them all the way to the title.
Tarabin said: “This was a beautiful competition for me.”
Russia’s first win of the day came in the 110m hurdles as Sergey Shubenkov defied the wet track to record an excellent victory in 13.19.
“It was good to win,” he said. “I had a season’s best which was good too. I hope for the best from the World Championships in Moscow.”
The men’s triple jump might not have been expected to give Russia victory with France’s world indoor record-holder Teddy Tamgho back in form but that was not the case.
Fyodorov said: “I enjoyed fighting against one of the great athletes of our sport (Tamgho). I won 12 points for my country and that is the most important thing for the team.”
It was Russia’s day in the 5000m as Olga Golovkina, who won gold at the distance a year ago at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, triumphed in a season’s best of 15:32.45.
And Russia won another 12 points in the women’s 1500m as Yekaterina Sharmina, the European Athletics Indoor bronze medallist in Paris in 2011, ran a brilliant final lap to triumph in 4:08.86.
“It was a good finish, I feel in good form and I am happy with the last lap,” said Sharmina.
Germany looked strong throughout and they won the first event of the day with Betty Heidler, who leads the hammer European Athletics rankings with 76.48m, reaching 74.31m.
Robert Harting won the discus for Germany with 64.25m for their third win of the day but Russia just had enough overall.
Britain won both 4 x 400m relays while their 100m hurdler Tiffany Porter flew to victory in 12.62 while France, who were fourth, had Christophe Lemaitre retain his 200m crown as he won in 20.27 and 13 years on from finishing first in the 3000m steeplechase here when this competition was the European Cup, Bouabdellah Tahri won the 3000m.
And with the pole vault moved indoors because of the rain, it was a familiar outcome as it brought another French victory with Olympic and European champion Renaud Lavillenie taking the glory with 5.77m.
But it was Russia’s trophy and now the planning begins to make it four in a row in Braunschweig in Germany in 12 months time.
Collection of photos from Day Two
Final standings (after 40 events)
1. Russia 354.5
2. Germany 347.5
3. Great Britain 338
4. France 310.5
5. Poland 305.5
6. Ukraine 291.5
7. Italy 260.5
8. Spain 251
9. Turkey 197.5
10. Belarus 155.5
11. Greece 152
12. Norway 137
The North East HUB would like to say a big thank you for letting us promote and cover this fantastic championship! Well done do all the athletes, supporters and volunteers!!!