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Furlani eclipses championship record with 8.23m to win long jump thriller in Jerusalem

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  • Furlani eclipses championship record with 8.23m to win long jump thriller in Jerusalem

Italy’s brilliant Mattia Furlani came out on top on what was the greatest men’s long jump competition in European Athletics U20 Championship history in Jerusalem on Tuesday (8). 

A strong pre-event favourite, the world U20 leader sailed six centimetres beyond the 36-year-old championship record held by Vladimir Ochkan with a first round 8.23m (-0.2m/s).  

It was just one centimetre shy of his personal best and looked to have settled the competition before it had barely begun. But he was made to sweat by Bulgaria’s Bozhidar Saraboyukov. Like Furlani, he is also a proven performer in the high jump, having won silver at last year’s World Athletics U20 Championships. 

But until Tuesday’s final, he hadn’t gone beyond eight metres in the long jump. Yet, he achieved the feat five times in an incredible series, the best being a second round 8.22m (+1.6m/s) for a new national U20 record.  

It left him short of gold by just one centimetre but with the consolation of silver and a 25 centimetre improvement on his lifetime best set only the previous day. Nikita Masliuk of Ukraine took bronze with 7.97m (+2.3m/s). 

Afterwards, a relieved Furlani said: “I want to congratulate Bozhidar because he is a great person, a great athlete, it was crazy. My only thoughts were jump, work hard. In the second jump there was too much wind and I started feeling the pressure of the competition. I decided not to do the last jump because I was tired, and I want to go to Budapest at my best.”  

Brudin extends world U20 discus lead 

Discus thrower Mykhailo Brudin was another heavy pre-event favourite, and the Ukrainian delivered in style. Following his world U20 leading performance in Monday’s qualifiers, he cranked it up to another level in Tuesday’s final. He unleashed a monster first round 66.58m, adding another 1.10 metres to his own world lead and banishing any doubts on where the gold medal was bound. 

He cemented his dominance with an awesome series of throws, with all five valid attempts all good enough for the gold, his next best being a final round 65.50m. Czech Republic’s Jan Svozil took silver with a second round 59.93m and the Netherlands’ Yannick Rolvink won bronze with a fifth round personal best of 59.86m 

Valentina Savva from Cyprus added another title to the European U18 gold she won last year in the women’s hammer.  

The world U20 leader produced a consistent series of throws, with the best being a second round mark 64.64m. It was sufficient to take gold ahead of Germany’s Jada Julien who elevated herself into the medals with a final round 62.92m. Hungary’s Jázmin Csatári took bronze with an opening round effort of 62.47m. 

“I wanted to throw my PB today and to get close to 70m but it did not happen, so I am a little bit disappointed,” said the ambitious Savva. “But I won so that is the most important thing at the end of the day. I am always 100 percent sure that I am going to win, I have the confidence and I think I am the best. Maybe you can call it arrogance?  

“But I know what I can achieve and how hard I was working for it. I only love to throw, nothing else - it is like my oxygen.“ 

Zakrzewski eyes sprint double after historic 100m gold

Poland’s Marek Zakrzewski secured the first leg of a sprint double, by winning the men’s 100m in confident style. Last year’s European U18 champion wasn’t the quickest out of the blocks, but once he got into his stride there was only one winner.  

He pulled away to win in a national U20 record of 10.25 (+0.6m/s). Sweden’s Isak Hughes won silver in 10.31 and Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s Sean Anyaogu who took bronze in 10.34. Zakrzewski will now set his sights on Wednesday morning’s 200m semifinals. 

“This is a fantastic victory for me, but it is just the beginning of my mission - I am aiming for two golds at these championships,” confirmed the ebullient Pole. “I just hope that my shape will last until the 200m finals. Now, my first thought is - I want to go to the ice bath to regenerate and to rest until tomorrow. Because I want to go for the magic double gold.” 


Joy Eze took two steps further up the podium, taking the women’s 100m gold to go with the bronze she won aged just 17 two years ago in Tallinn. Eze exploded from the blocks to put immediate pressure on her rivals. She had to fend off a late charge for British teammate Renee Regis, but held on to win by 0.01 in 11.39 (+2.0m/s).  

Bronze went to Hungary’s Anna Kocsis in 11.55, just one thousandth of a second ahead of Germany’s Chelsea Kadiri. 

In the women’s shot, Germany’s Nina Chioma Ndubuisi was another athlete to upgrade from bronze to gold. Having finished third two years ago in Tallinn, she stamped her authority with a world U20 lead of 17.97m in the fifth round to secure victory.  

Diessl powers to historic victory for Austria 

In the 110m hurdles final, top ranked Austrian Enzo Diessl justified his pre-event favourite status, as he motored to gold in 13.12 (+1.2m/s) to win gold.   

He was pushed to the limit by Finland’s Rasmus Vehmaa and Portugal’s Sisinio Ambriz who took silver and bronze in 13.23 and 13.29 respectively. Both athletes could also celebrate new national U20 records. Diessl’s victory was only the fourth ever Austrian gold at these championships, and their first in over a decade.   

“I have to admit I was a bit nervous before the final,” said the modest Austrian. “The heat was great but the semifinal did not go exactly as I wanted, I did not have a good reaction time.  

“But my coach told me to stay focused. I think until the fifth hurdle, I was not in front but I wanted to win so bad that I just switched another gear and managed to win.” 


In the 100m hurdles, Rosina Schneider of Germany has been one of the breakthrough athletes of the championships and she claimed her first international title in winning the women’s 100m hurdles final in 13.06.  

It was European U20 lead for the fluent hurdler and was a further chunk from her personal best which stood at 13.38 when she arrived in Jerusalem.  

Triple jump goes to the wire 

The women’s triple jump was one of the most tightly contested events of all. But it was Ukraine’s Oleksandra Chernukha who held her nerve best. Sitting in eighth place after four rounds, she exploded into contention in round 5 with 13.44m (+2.9m/s) to move into silver position behind Serbia’a Teodora Boberic’s first round 13.50m (+1.1/s). 

But Chernukha was not done and produced a final round personal best of 13.63 m (+0.4m/s) to snatch gold – Ukraine’s second of the evening following Brudin’s emphatic discus gold. Boberic had to settle for silver just as she had last year at U18 level and bronze went to her team-mate Aleksandrija Mitrovic with a first round best of 13.40 (+1.6m/s).  

Sandrina Sprengel wrapped up victory in the heptathlon. In the absence of pre-event favourite Jana Koscak of Croatia - forced to withdraw on day one with a hamstring injury - Sprengel could afford to play it safe.  

She consolidated her lead earlier in the day with a 5.99m in the long jump and 42.41m in the javelin. And with a cushion of over 200m points, she could afford to cruise the 800m in 2:26.44 to give her a gold medal winning total of 5928. 

08 08 1921 Final Results Heptathlon Women 1 2

The real intrigue came in the scrap for the minor medals. Sprengel’s fellow German Pia Messing was the big mover, taking silver after sitting in seventh place overnight. She accrued 5790 points, largely owed to a long jump of 6.07m and a javelin throw of 42.37m, both the third best efforts of all. Bronze went to Austria’s Sophie Kreiner with 5698 points.     

Afterwards, Sprengel said: “Nobody wants to be injured in the competition, so nobody wished that for the others. It is hard especially if you are leading. So, I am very sorry for Jana Koscak. But I tried to stay focused on myself and my competition. It is a great thing to share a podium with your team mate.”   

Chris Broadbent for European Athletics

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