Femke Bol provided one of the highlights of a packed weekend of national indoor championships action at the Dutch Indoor Championships in Apeldoorn on Sunday (27).
The European indoor champion and Olympic 400m hurdles bronze medallist glided to victory in the 400m final in 50.30 which not only improved her world lead but also surpassed both her Dutch indoor (50.63) and outdoor (50.37) records.
Her time was also the fastest by a European since 2007 when Nicola Sanders won the European indoor title in Birmingham in 50.02. Only three athletes have ever broken the 50 second-barrier indoors but Bol’s ascent is such that this could be a target at the upcoming World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
Bol’s training partner and friend Lieke Klaver led at the bell but she held on well as Bol charged away in the last 150 metres, finishing second in a lifetime best of 51.20. Klaver was also part of the gold medal-winning Dutch team at the European Indoor Championships in Torun last year and their coach Laurent Meuwly believes they are primed to challenge on the global stage in Serbia next month.
“Together with Eveline Saalberg and Lisanne de Witte, who also ran the World Indoor Championships this weekend, we now have a stronger 4x400m team than ever for Belgrade,” said Meuwly as reported by De Telegraaf.
In the men’s 400m final, Olympic finalist Liemarvin Bonevacia also broke into the European indoor all-time top-10 by breaking the Dutch indoor record with 45.48, the fastest time by a non-American this season.
Menno Vloon approached his national record of 5.96m with an excellent 5.91m clearance to win the pole vault title and Jessica Schilder won her third successive national indoor title with another 19 metre-plus throw of 19.35m.
Zoe Sedney won the 60m hurdles title in 7.98 but there was heartbreak for two-time European indoor 60m hurdles champion Nadine Visser who pulled up injured in the final after easing to a 7.96 clocking in her heat.
"She already had some problems with a hamstring, but it seemed okay. Her thigh was packed just to be sure. She felt something again during the final. I think we'll skip the World Indoor Championships with a view to the summer. She has to be able to trust her body and she can't do that now," said her coach Bart Bennema.
Kambundji speeds to 7.05 clocking at the Swiss Indoor Championships
Mujinga Kambundji was in sharp form as she powered to the 60m title at the Swiss Indoor Championships in Magglingen on Saturday afternoon.
Kambundji got faster through the rounds and she eventually stopped the clock at 7.05 in the 60m final, only 0.02 shy of the national record which she shares with Ajla Del Ponte who is missing the remainder of the indoor season due to injury.
But despite the absence of Del Ponte, the depth in the 60m final was still excellent. Geraldine Frey improved her lifetime best to 7.19 in the semifinal - and then 7.15 in the final - with Riccarda Dietsche third in 7.29.
Simon Ehammer holds the world lead in the heptathlon but the multi-talented Swiss decathlon specialist demonstrated his all-round repertoire by winning the long jump with 8.22m - he also holds the world lead in this discipline at 8.26m - and the 60m hurdles title in 7.70.
His exploits are such that Ehammer has the laudable distinction of qualifying for the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in three events.
In the women’s 60m hurdles, European U20 champion Ditaji Kambundji pipped Noemi Zbaren for the title - 7.97 to 7.99.
Dongmo closing in on the 20 metre-line in Pombal
European indoor champion Auriol Dongmo regained her world lead in the shot put with a winning mark of 19.90m at the Portuguese Indoor Championships in Pombal on Saturday.
Her mark was also an outright national record and the longest mark recorded indoors since the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland.
Other highlights at the Portuguese Indoor Championships included 2016 European champion Patricia Mamona winning the triple jump title with 14.12m and Marta Pen winning the women's 1500m in 4:09.23.