Norwegian prodigy Jakob Ingebrigtsen sealed a memorable European distance double-double in Munich on Thursday as Belgium’s Nafi Thiam retained her heptathlon title in style.
In a mixed night for defending champions at a rain-hit Olympic Stadium, a third, Poland’s Wojciech Nowicki, left it late to also retain his hammer throw title. But there was no such luck for two-time world long jump champion and Olympic gold medallist Malaika Mihambo and her German teammate Mateusz Przybylko in the men’s high jump.
After heavy rain had seen the evening session delayed by 20 minutes, Ingebrigtsen made up for the disappointment of finishing second to Britain’s Jake Wightman in the 1,500m in last month’s world championships in Oregon.
The 21-year-old Norwegian, who dominated the 5,000m here on Tuesday, was also in total control of the 1,500m, clocking a championship record of 3min 32.76sec for his second gold of the continental track and field showpiece event.
Ingebrigtsen’s victory sealed a remarkable triumph, having won the same 1,500-5,000 European double as a precocious 17-year-old in Berlin in 2018.
Britain’s Jake Heyward claimed silver in 3:34.44, with Spain’s Mario Garcia taking bronze in 3:34.88.
“I wanted to have a fast race and I wanted to win,” Ingebrigtsen said.
“I am very glad I managed this double and the championships record is a nice bonus.”
- ‘In the clouds’ - Thiam went into the final 800m in total control of the multi-discipline event and duly completed the two laps to seal a comprehensive victory. It meant the 27-year-old Belgian became a two-time champion on the Olympic, world and European stage. “It’s amazing,” beamed Thiam. “I’m living in the clouds.”
She had registered 13.34sec in the 100m hurdles, 1.98m in the high jump, 14.95m in the shot put and 24.64sec in the 200m on the first day of action on Wednesday.
Thursday saw her go out to a disappointing 6.08m in the long jump before 48.89m in the javelin and 2:17.95 in the 800m for a total of 6,628 points.
Poland’s Adrianna Sulek won silver with 6,532pts and Switzerland’s Annik Kalin bronze (6,515).
“I am really, really happy because I was quite exhausted after the first day,” said Thiam.
“I had pain all over my body but still managed to give my best.
“I am really happy that I have won Olympic, world and European titles in less than a year. Now I am double Olympic, double World and double European champion. This is quite amazing, I am all in the clouds.”
Kenyan-born Yasemin Can came close to a second distance double for Turkey, but Germany’s 2019 world bronze medallist Konstanze Klosterhalfen bolted with 600m to run for victory in the women’s 5,000m in 14:50.47.
Can and Britain’s Eilish McColgan rounded out the podium to add to the gold and silver medals they respectively won in the 10,000m earlier in the championship.
There was a battle royale in the men’s hammer throw, Olympic gold medallist and defending champion Nowicki retaining his title with a best of 82.00m on the fifth of his six attempts.
Hungary’s Bence Halasz won silver in a personal best of 80.92m, while Norwegian Eivind Henriksen took bronze (79.45) to push five-time world champion Pawel Fajdek of Poland into fourth (79.15).
Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi, who famously shared Olympic gold at last year’s Summer Games in Tokyo with Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim but who has been suffering with the after-effects of Covid-19, wrapped up the men’s high jump with a best of 2.30m.
It was Tamberi’s second European title after having previously won in Amsterdam in 2016.
Tobias Potye of Germany took silver with 2.27m on countback from Ukraine’s Andriy Protsenko.
Defending champion Przybylko could only finish sixth in the high jump, but Mihambo was beaten by just 3cm in her bid to retain long jump gold.
That title went to Serbia’s Ivana Vuleta, with a best of 7.06m.
Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen (right) leads? during the men’s 1,500m final at the European Athletics Championships in Munich. (AFP)