Mattia Furlani won his second gold medal of the Jerusalem 2022 European Athletics U18 Championships on Thursday (7) morning with another virtuoso performance in the high jump final.
Two days after winning the long jump title with a championship record of 8.04m, Furlani reverted his attention back to what is - for now at least - his primary event and the prospect of a second title.
Furlani briefly dropped out of medal contention after recording two failures at 2.13m but the precocious 17-year-old Italian roused himself again and put himself back in the title hunt with a clutch third-time clearance.
Furlani admitted he was jumping on fatigued legs after a grueling competitive schedule in hot and humid conditions in Jerusalem but the Rieti-based athlete kept something in reserve and scaled 2.15m on his second attempt - a height which proved beyond his rivals.
Furlani raised the bar to a prospective championship record of 2.20m but the Italian ran through on his first attempt before drawing his championships to a close with two gold medals and a championship record in the long jump for posterity.
“The emotions were high today. Yesterday, it was emotional enough, so I have no words for what I have done today and over the last two days. I just wanted to stay focused and achieve my goals,” said Furlani.
Mattia’s older sister Erika is also an Italian international high jumper and he is coached by his mother who he richly credited for guiding him to his success at this championships.
“The competition was tough today, especially when it came to how my muscles were reacting. In the end, the result came through, thanks to my coach who is also my mum - she is the one who helps me every day. Psychologically, it was challenging, and I made some significant errors. But there is always room for improvement,” said Furlani.
Cyprus’ brilliant championships continued as Michalis Christofi added a silver medal to their coffers. He started the day with a lifetime best of 2.06m but the 16-year-old revised that mark on no fewer than three occasions and even briefly took the lead by clearing 2.13m on his second attempt.
Poland’s Jakub Walecki also came away with a silver medal after registering an identical scorecard to Christofi.
Gold for Hossain with a championship record
A brilliant championship for 15-year-old athletes hailing from Nordic countries continued in the women’s long jump final.
One night after Topi Parviainen broke the European U18 best in the javelin, Sweden’s Ayla Hallberg Hossain won the long jump title with a championship record.
One of the youngest athletes competing at the championships by virtue of a December 2006 birthdate, the highly-vaunted Hossain leapt out to a championship record of 6.39m in the second round to clinch the title.
Hossain becomes the second successive Swedish winner of this title after Tilde Johansson won at the last edition in Gyor, Hungary in 2018.
European U18 leader Brina Likar took full advantage of the 2.0 m/s tailwind in the fifth round to leap 6.30m to move into silver medal position while Bulgaria’s Plamena Chakarova set a lifetime best of 6.24m to win bronze.
In the 10,000m race walk, Germany’s Frederick Wiegel held off some late pressure from Italy’s Giueseppe Disabato to win the title in a championship record of 44:01.60.
The winner is one of many athletes at the championships to hail from a famous sporting family. His father ad coach Ronald Wiegel is one of the greatest 50km race walkers of all-time, winning the inaugural world title for East Germany in 1983 as well as three Olympic medals.
"My dad is also my coach, currently in the United States. Yes, he motivates me, but I have my own opinion about the sport. He doesn't really control me. I think maybe he will be proud of me, and probably stayed up late to watch the race," said the winner.
Spain's Sofia Santacreu won the women's 5000m race walk title in 22:46.32.
Full results here.