Femke Bol decimated the world best in the 300m hurdles on her outdoor season’s debut at the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting on Tuesday (31) evening.
In her first race over the barriers in nearly nine months, Bol stormed to victory at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in the rarely contested 300m hurdles in 36.86 to become the first woman in history to break not only the 37 second-barrier but also the 38 second-barrier.
The previous world best belonged to the recently-retired Zuzana Hejnova at 38.16 but the Dutchwoman slashed some 1.3 seconds off that mark and, as Bol pointed out later, it was far from a perfect race technically either.
“I was crazy surprised. I was really hoping to run 37 seconds here and I hit two hurdles a bit…then I saw the time and it explains why I have so much lactic!” said Bol, who was crowned European Athletics' female Rising Star last year.
Bol is planning a tilt at both the World Athletics Championships and European Athletics Championships in Munich this summer and her season’s debut augurs exceptionally well for another brace of medals, after having already won two at the World Athletics Indoor Championships earlier this year.
"It's more than great. I knew I was fit but the competition is where you see if you are like you think you are. I'm more fit than I thought I was so I'm really excited," said Bol.
Bol, who won Olympic bronze last year behind the American pair of Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad, will run her first 400m hurdles of the season on home soil at the FBK Games in Hengelo on 6 June.
Ukrainians Viktoriya Tkachuk and Anna Ryzhykova finished second and third behind Bol in 38.24 and 38.36 respectively.
Prescod powers to 9.93 victory in the 100m
After three years, European silver medallist Reece Prescod returned to sub-10 second form in the 100m.
Prescod was drawn right on the outside but he stormed into the reckoning with a devastating last 30 metres to take the victory in a lifetime best of 9.93 into a by no means inconsequential headwind of 1.2 m/s.
“I’ve been working so hard for the last two years to come back. People have doubted me. Today I put a good run in so I want to keep this momentum,” said Prescod.
By clocking 9.93 in Ostrava, Prescod becomes the first European to break the sub-10 second barrier this year with the European Athletics Championships just over 75 days away.
Former European U23 champion Natalia Kaczmarek also made a big improvement in taking the victory in the women’s 400m. Also drawn in lane eight, Kaczmarek produced another strong finish to come through to take victory in a European-leading time and lifetime best of 50.16.
Kaczmarek moves to second on the Polish all-time list which is headed by the venerable Irena Szewinska with her former world record of 49.29.
Poland’s 4x400m relay prospects are also looking good in the build-up to Oregon and Munich respectively. Anna Kielbasinska equalled her lifetime best with 50.38 in third and Justyna Swiety-Ersetic improved her season’s best to 51.09.
Still only 19, European U20 javelin champion Elina Tzengko set a big lifetime best of 65.40m to defeat Czech favourite Nikola Ogrodnikova with 61.58m.
Full results here.