Five stories to follow on the second evening of finals in Istanbul 2023

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  • Five stories to follow on the second evening of finals in Istanbul 2023

In a dramatic Friday night at the Atakoy Arena we saw Nafissatou Thiam set a world record in what was the greatest pentathlon of all-time along with dominating displays from the likes of Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Pedro Pichardo.

But Saturday night promises to be equally entertaining, with plenty of big names competing, including world record-holders Kevin Mayer and Femke Bol, and Olympic champions Karsten Warholm and Marcell Jacobs, among others.

Here are five interesting storylines to follow on the second evening of finals in Istanbul.

How fast can Bol go?

The way Femke Bol has been running this season, it would be a huge surprise if she gets anything other than gold in the 400m final on Saturday night.

Her training partner Lieke Klaver is the clear the second fastest in the field, but her best is still over a second behind Bol. So how fast will the reigning outdoor and indoor champion be able to go?

In her race against the clock in the recent Dutch Indoor Championships, Bol won convincingly, setting a new indoor world record over 400m of 49.26.

Bol described that as an ‘almost perfect’ race, so it would take something special for her to go close again, especially with two rounds in her legs from Friday’s qualifying sessions.

Women’s 400m final – 20:30 (18:30 CET)

Does recent form matter for Marcell Jacobs?

Marcell Jacobs of Italy is the reigning Olympic, world, and European indoor and outdoor champion as well as the European record holder over 100m as well as 60m.

He set the European 60m record last year at the World Athletics Indoor Championships when he ran 6.41 seconds to take gold and become the fourth fastest man of all time at the distance. However, he only came into the event as the fifth fastest athlete that season.

European Athletics Indoor Championships - Day 2 Session 1

So, does it matter that he comes into Istanbul as only the equal fourth fastest this year? Perhaps more cause for concern is the fact that he was denied his eighth successive Italian title over 100m or 60m at the Italian Indoor Championships by 22-year-old law student Samuele Ceccarelli, who has a best of 10.45 for 100m.

However, Jacobs has a habit of delivering when it counts and will be confident he can do so once again on Saturday night.

Men’s 60m semi-finals – 18:45 (16:45 CET)

Men’s 60m final – 20:55 (18:55 CET)

Record watch #2?

Kevin Mayer is the decathlon world record-holder and reigning world champion. Like Thiam in the pentathlon, he’s also going for his third title here at the European Athletics Indoor Championships. But can he - like Thiam - also break a record in the process?

For the heptathlon, he currently holds the European record, which stands at 6479 points and was set at the 2017 edition of these championships in Belgrade, and there's a chance we might see that improved in this year's competition.

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After the first three events, Mayer is two points ahead of where he was at this point in Belgrade and the Frenchman has a healthy lead over the rest of the field. The fourth event is the high jump, which kicks off Saturday's evening session.

Mayer’s rival, Switzerland’s Simon Ehammer, registered three no marks in the long jump on Saturday morning and withdrew from the competition shortly after.

Heptathlon high jump – 18:35 (16:35 CET)

Can Portugal continue its golden championships?

In 2021, Portugal finished second in the medal standings after picking up three golds, courtesy of Pedro Pichardo (triple jump), Auriol Dongmo (shot put) and Patricia Mamona (triple jump).

All three reigning champions are defending their titles in Istanbul, and Pichardo and Dongmo won their respective events on Friday evening, putting Portugal at the top of the medal standings after day one.

On Saturday evening, Olympic triple jump silver medallist Patricia Mamona will hope to make it three and she certainly has a strong chance of retaining the title she won in Torun 2021.

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She tops this year’s European list with 14.41m, with her most likely challengers being the Italian pair of Dariya Derkach and Ottavia Cestonaro who have season’s bests of 14.25m and 14.11m respectively.

Meanwhile, a medal for home athlete and European U23 champion Tugba Danismaz, who has a season’s best of 14.13m would be an emotional result for the nation that is still reeling from last month’s earthquake.

Women’s triple jump final – 19:50 (17:50 CET)

Will Murto repeat her Munich success?

Wilma Murto, 24, took the Finnish record to new heights at last year’s European Athletics Championships in Munich and she’ll be hoping for more of the same on Saturday evening. To add indoor to her outdoor gold, it's likely she will need to improve her season’s best of 4.75m.

Athletics - Day 7 - European Championships Munich 2022

That’s because the bronze medallist from Munich, Slovenian Tina Sutej – who is 10 years Murto’s senior – is in the form of her life after clearing 4.82m in Ostrava last month. Despite her vast experience, this was her highest ever mark, indoors or out, setting up an intriguing contest.

Women’s pole vault final – 19:05 (17:05 CET)

Follow all the action from Istanbul 2023 here.

Nick Howard for European Athletics

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