Jacobs, Mechaal and Mihambo command the spotlight at their national championships

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  • Jacobs, Mechaal and Mihambo command the spotlight at their national championships

In his first competitive appearance on Italian soil since springing to stardom at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Marcell Jacobs won the 60m title in front of a sell-out crowd at the Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona on Sunday evening.

The double Olympic champion clocked 6.57 in his heat before improving to 6.55 in the final. Jacobs duly extended his win streak to eight races this indoor season but he wasn’t entirely enamoured with his efforts. 

“I'm very strict with myself. Today I would not give myself the pass, I did not find the activation I needed. But the important thing was to win the title. Together with Paolo Camossi [his coach] we will evaluate this race but I hope to be able to race again on Wednesday in Madrid, then next Monday in Belgrade on the World Indoor Championships track,” said Jacobs.

Prior to his two Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, Jacobs showed a semblance of the form he would show in the Japanese capital by winning the European indoor 60m title in Torun in 6.47 and the Italian is looking to follow suit on the global stage at the World Indoor Championships.

In the women’s 60m, Zaynab Dosso won the title in a national record of 7.16 and Sveva Gerevini broke the Italian pentathlon record for the second time in five weeks with a score of 4451 points.

Other highlights included Nick Ponzio winning an excellent men’s shot put final with 21.34m from Zane Weir (20.87m) and Leonardo Fabbri (20.40m) and European U23 1500m champion Gaia Sabbatini dropping down in distance to win the 800m in 2:01.07.

Mechaal completes 1500/3000m double

At the Spanish Indoor Championships, European indoor record-holder Adel Mechaal navigated four races in three days to come away with his third domestic 1500/3000m double in Ourense.

After winning a tactical 3000m final in 8:03.73, Mechaal won the 1500m title from the front in 3:36.80 to beat Ignacio Fontes in 3:37.81. On Wednesday, Mechaal is due to go head-to-head with Mohamed Katir over 3000m in Madrid.

Maria Perez lowered her Spanish indoor 60m record to 7.17 in the semifinal and 7.16 in the final and European U18 and U20 champion Maria Vicente also broke her national indoor pentathlon record with 4582 points, the fourth best score in the world this year behind Anna Hall (4618 points), Adrianna Sulek (4598 points) and Holly Mills (4597 points)

Other highlights included former European 200m champion Bruno Hortelano winning the 400m title in 46.07 and European U23 champion Asier Martinez winning the 60m hurdles title in 7.56 ahead of Enrique Llopis 7.61. 

Mihambo rounds up indoor season with 6.81m as Schwanitz bows out

Reigning Olympic, European and world champion Malaika Mihambo concluded her indoor season with a winning effort of 6.81m at the German Indoor Championships in Leipzig on Sunday.

This was her second best jump of a shortened indoor campaign, bettered only by her world lead of 6.96m from the ISTAF Indoor in Dusseldorf last Sunday. 

"It was so nice to be able to win a title in front of an audience again. My approach has become much more stable. I'll take this certainty with me to the training camp,” said Mihambo.

But while Mihambo looks ahead to defending her world and European long jump titles later this summer, another great of German athletics announced her retirement.

Behind Sara Gambetta who broke the 19 metre-line in the shot put for the first time in her career with 19.05m and Katharina Maisch who was second with 18.54m, former world and European champion Christina Schwanitz departed from the scene with a third-place finish with 18.49m to a deserved standing ovation.

"Actually, the World Indoor Championships should have been my last appearance," said Schwanitz. "But Kathi was better than me today."

Tatjana Pinto won the women’s 60m title in 7.16 and Corinna Schwab continued her good run of results by taking the 400m title in 51.74.

Knight pips Hodgkinson for British indoor 400m title

One of the highlights of the British Indoor Championships in Birmingham was the much anticipated women’s 400m final with Jessie Knight holding off a late surge from Olympic 800m silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson.

Knight overhauled long-time leader Hannah Williams in the home straight to win in 52.37 with Hodgkinson, who ran most of the second lap in lane two and eventually pushed wide into lane four, clocking 52.42 - her third lifetime best of the weekend after 53.62 in her heat and 52.45 in her semifinal.

Other highlights included Adam Thomas winning the men’s 60m in 6.56 and Sophie McKinna setting an outright lifetime best of 18.82m to win the shot put title.

At the French Indoor Championships in Miramas, European indoor champion Wilhem Belocian defeated Pascal Martinot-Lagarde for the first time in the 60m hurdles - 7.53 to 7.58 - and Thibaut Collet won an excellent pole vault with a 5.81m clearance on countback from Valentin Lavillenie.

Former world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie had to settle for sixth on this occasion with a 5.66m clearance. 

Elsewhere around Europe…

At the Greek Indoor Championships in Athens, Olympic and European champion Miltiadis Tentoglou won the long jump with 8.20m and Emmanouil Karalis won the pole vault title with 5.73m.

Only 17, Serbian guest Angelina Topic - the father of 1990 European champion Dragutin - upped her lifetime best to 1.91m in the high jump. 

There was also good jumping at the Swedish Indoor Championships in Vaxjo. Khaddi Sagnia won the women’s long jump title with 6.69m and Thobias Montler won the men’s title with 8.06m.

Former European U23 100m champion Henrik Larsson won the 60m title in 6.60, Andreas Kramer took a 800/1500m double in 1:48.55/3:40.84 and Fanny Roos set a season’s best of 18.95m in the women’s shot put.

Olympic champion Daniel Stahl traded the discus for the shot put and came away with the national title with 19.03m. He also won an exhibition indoor discus with 67.62m.

At the Belgian Indoor Championships in Louvain-la-Neuve, Julien Watrin broke the national indoor 400m record with 46.15 and Elliot Crestan also won a fast 800m in a national indoor record of 1:46.11 ahead of Aurele Vandeputte (1:46.49) and Tibo de Smet (1:46.80).

There was also a fast 3000m with Isaac Kimeli winning in 7:46.52 ahead of Michael Somers in 7:48.72. Two-time Olympic heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam was fourth in the 60m hurdles final in 8.34 after 8.32 in her heat.

At the Irish Indoor Championships in Abbotstown, Molly Scott improved her national 60m record to 7.19 while Israel Olatunde, 19, set a lifetime best of 6.62 in the men’s 60m final. Phil Healy also impressed with a 51.75 victory in the 400m.

Luka Kozak highlighted the Hungarian Indoor Championships in Nyiregyhaza by winning the 60m hurdles title in a national record of 7.92.

Now 24, former European U20 400m champion Benjamin Lobo Vedel sped to the 400m title at the Danish Indoor Championships in Skive 46.46. Ida Karstoft set yet another national record of 7.25 to win the women’s 60m title and Mette Gravesgaard clocked 8.14 to win the women’s 60m hurdles title. 

At the Slovakian Indoor Championships in Bratislava, Viktoria Forster took a 60m/60m hurdles double in 7.28/8.16 respectively. 

Bob Bertemes highlighted the Luxembourg Indoor Championships with a winning throw of 20.91m in the shot put.

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