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Litzell delivers silver for Sweden

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Renee Eykens is looking forward to returning home to Belgium - because then it might sink in that she won 800m gold today at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Eskilstuna.

But win she did, in a sensational race as she took over with 80m left to triumph in 2:02.83 with Germany's Sarah Schmidt in second (2:04.55) and, in third, Iceland's defending champion and favourite, Anita Hinkriksdottir, (2:05.04).

It has been a brilliant year for Eykens, 19, who has twice broken the national junior record, yet her best time of 2:02.55 was slower than both Hinkriksdottir's personal best of 2:00.49 and Schmidt's 2:02.19.

At the finish, she broke into tears as she saw her parents by the side of the track, and half an hour after her win, she was still in shock.

'I still don't believe it. Did it happen? I am still dreaming I guess,' said Eykens. 'It is more than I can explain and maybe when I get home, I will realise I am the champion.

'I was already happy with my season and this is the cherry on the cake. A gold medal is just unbelievable.

'It was difficult because there was a lot of wind and I did not want to go in front as I would pay for it in the end. I was kind of lucky because the two fastest were in front of me in the final 100m, and I had a little bit more.'

Two years ago in Rieti, Hinkriksdottir won in 2:01.14 and has since progressed with a series of national records and was fifth in the final of the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague in March.

It seemed she was the unstoppable favourite here, so it was some scalp to take.

'I look up to Anita and have a lot of respect for her,' said Eykens, Belgium flag in her hand, smile across her face, eyes red from crying and amazement still running through her mind.

Muhar's brilliance ruins Litzell's big day

It was always going to take something special to deprive the man leading the European javelin rankings of a gold medal.

And so it proved as Sweden's Simon Litzell saw victory snatched away by Slovenia's Matija Muhar who produced a stunning throw to land the first title of the afternoon.

Just as the host nation were preparing for their first gold, after Litzell led the way with 78.34m from the first round, Muhar then landed a national junior record of 79.20m with his fourth effort.

With a strong headwind in their favour, the conditions were very much in the favour of these field eventers and the 'oohs' and 'arghs' grew in their decibel levels with virtually every competitor.

What a start the big crowd at the Ekängen Arena were treated to as Litzell, who leads the junior rankings with 78.73m, sent the spear soaring to 78.34m.

Muhar, who is 19 next week and won world junior silver 12 months ago, began with a foul and then had throws of 68.60m and 76.42m in a competition where a personal best of 77.48m from Lithuania's Edis Matusevicius and 77.05m from Ioannis Kiriazis, of Greece, had put them second and third respectively.

But then Muhar struck his gold-medal winning effort and Litzell had no response, as Matusevicius won bronze.

'I am so happy that I do not know what is going through my head right now,' said Muhar.

'Mentally, it was a hard competition and I am delighted about the national junior record.'

Litzell remained defiant and said: 'It was a good throw, and I have more to give. I loved the support of the crowd.'

Salimullin battles through for gold

Russia have the senior European 110m hurdles champion in Sergey Shubenkov and now they have the junior one, too, as Kamil Salimullin came hustling and bustling his way through in a thrilling final to take gold on the line.

Salimullin, 19, won in 13.60 to beat German duo Florian Lickteig, who was second (13.64), with Henrik Hannemann third (13.67).

With three barriers remaining it looked like France's Dylan Caty was going to have enough for victory but he was passed in the latter stages, missing out on a podium spot to finish fourth (13.73).

Salimulin said: 'It was a very bad race in the beginning but then it got better and I am pleased with the result.'

Belarusian Elvira Herman won the women's 100m hurdles as was always likely to be the case if she kept her momentum because she was by far the quickest in the field.

Running from lane six, her slick movement over the barriers saw her home in 13.15 from Hungary's Luca Kozak (13.20) with Laura Valette, of France, third (13.21).

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