Kenyan-born teenager Yasemin Can sealed a distance double when she won Saturday’s 5000m to continue Turkey’s astonishing European success built around naturalised foreign athletes from across the globe.
Can’s second gold of the championships in Amsterdam, following her victory in the 10,000m on Wednesday, left Turkey atop the medals table with four golds, four silvers and one bronze medal.
All those medals bar the bronze, won by Emel Dereli in the women’s shot put, were won by foreigners naturalised to compete for Turkey, be it from Kenya (4), Azerbaijan, Cuba or even Jamaica.
The 19-year-old Can, previously known as Vivian Jemutai and who became eligible to represent Turkey in March, had no problems over the 5km race despite feeling sick and later revealed she would also like to medal for her native Kenya.
She led from the front in a dominant display to come home in 15min 18.15sec, Eritrean-born Swede Meraf Bahta holding off Britain’s Steph Twell to take silver.
“When I came here, I didn’t really expect to win anything. I wanted to come and see if I could get anything at all,” Can said.
“I’m feeling very sick and I’m coughing. That’s the memory I will take with me from this event: that I won this championship being sick.”
Can added: “I would also be very happy if I could earn gold for my home country Kenya one day.
“That’s because my fans from Kenya knew about my conditions today and they were cheering for me.”
France’s Dimitri Bascou will head to the Rio Olympics in four weeks’ time as the main European hope against a strong raft of competitors from the United States and Jamaica after clinching the 110m hurdles in 13.25sec.
Hungarian Balazs Baji, in 13.28, held on to edge silver from Wilhem Belocian and prevent a French one-two.
There was also a gold and bronze for Norway in a thrilling men’s 1500m, Filip Ingesbrigtsen storming through to snatch victory in 3:46.65 ahead of Spain’s David Bustos, with Ingesbrigtsen’s brother Henrik taking bronze by a whisker.
There was an upset in the women’s javelin, two-time Olympic champion and world record holder Barbora Spotakova managing only fifth place.
The 35-year-old Czech thrower’s best of 62.66m was well off her record of 72.28, albeit set in 2008.
Gold went the way of Belarus’ Tatsiana Khaladovich (66.34m), German Linda Stahl taking silver (65.25) and Croatia’s Sara Kolak bronze (63.50).
“It was not my day,” rued Spotakova. “I take this and will probably react in Rio.”
In the absence of world and Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill of Britain, Anouk Vetter delighted home fans at Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium by winning the heptathlon with a total score of 6,626 points over the two-day event.
France’s Antoinette Nana Djimou claimed silver (6458), with Austrian Ivona Dadic taking bronze (6408).
Can’s feat was mirrored by another 19-year-old in the field, Germany’s Max Hess hop, skipping and jumping out to a victorious 17.20m in the triple jump, ahead of Poland’s Karol Hoffmann (17.16) and Briton Julian Reid (16.76).
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