European athletes win 14 gold medals at World U20 Championships

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  • European athletes win 14 gold medals at World U20 Championships

European athletes representing eleven Member Federations won 14 of the 44 gold medals on offer across the six day programme at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.

Another 10 European countries won either silver or bronze medals and in total, 31 Member Federations made it onto the placing table with Great Britain and Germany leading the way in equal fifth.

One of the star performers across the championships was Sweden’s Armand Duplantis who signed off his age-group career first by winning the title with a first-time clearance of 5.60m before improving the championship record to 5.82m also on his first attempt.

If the 18-year-old matches this height - and even more so if he can achieve it on his first attempt - Duplantis will be in excellent shape to beat the seniors in the pole vault next month at the first multi-sport European Championships in Berlin which will be staged in conjunction with Glasgow.

Great Britain was the leading European nation with three gold medals across the six day championships, all of which came on the same session in Tampere.

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Separated by a meagre two points after the javelin, Niamh Emerson narrowly outduelled reigning champion Sarah Lagger from Austria for the heptathlon title - 6253 to 6225 points. European U20 champion Alina Shukh was sadly forced to withdraw after the warm-up to the high jump, although she did come away with the gold medal from the javelin the night before.

Emerson’s gold medal came minutes after Jake Norris opened the British medal tally in the hammer. Norris signed off his U20 career by extending his British record out to 80.65m with the 6kg implement to defeat Ukrainians Myhaylo Kokhan (his second medal in six days after winning the European U18 title with a world U18 best) and Myhaylo Havrylyuk who set PBs of 79.68m and 77.71m respectively.

The title haul was further enriched at the end of the programme after European U20 silver medallist Jona Efoloko led a British one-two in the 200m ahead of Charlie Dobson, 20.48 to 20.57.

Germany was the second most successful European nation in terms of titles won with two gold medals. Their sprint relay team broke the world U20 record at the European U20 Championships last year and a new-look team - with Sophia Junk the only one returning member - winning on the global stage in 43.82 from Ireland in 43.90.

There was an unexpected gold medal for Germany in the long jump with Lea-Jasmin Riecke setting a lifetime best of 6.51m in the second round to defeat a line-up which included former world U18 champion and world U20 leader Tara Davis, who has jumped 6.73m this year.

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Belgium has a new 400m star in the making as Jonathan Sacoor won the title in 45.03 - missing the European U20 record by just 0.02 - and the European revival in the one-lap event was also evident in the 4x400m relay with Italy defeating the United States, 3:04.05 to 3:05.26.

There was also a shared gold medal in the high jump with Greece’s Antonios Merlos and Mexico’s Roberto Vilches claiming a joint title and there was a rare gold medal for Moldova with Alexandra Emilianov winning the discus.

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen was one of two European athlete to win two individual medals at the World U20 Championships. Ingebrigtsen was outsprinted for the 1500m title by George Manangoi - the younger brother of reigning world senior champion Elijah - 3:41.71 to 3:41.89. Two days later, Ingebrigtsen, 18, won bronze in a high quality 5000m final in 13:20.78 to smash Steve Binns’ 39-year-old European U20 record.

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Ingebrigtsen has a brace of European outdoor U20 records to his name - mile, 3000m steeplechase and now the 5000m. He still has another full season left in the junior ranks to do further damage to the record books but next up for him is the European Championships in Berlin.

Another budding middle distance prospect heading to Berlin with a brace of medals is Switzerland’s Delia Sclabas. Better known prior to the championships for her exploits over 3000m, Sclabas won bronze medals in both the 800m and 1500m. She will contest the latter event at the European Championships in Berlin.

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