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Kaczmarek wins a 400m thriller in Roma 2024 in 48.98

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Natalia Kaczmarek won a thrilling 400m final ahead of Ireland’s Rhasidat Adeleke at the Roma 2024 European Athletics Championships from 7-12 June in an incredible time of 48.98.

In a race which was billed as one of the clashes of the championships, world silver medallist Kaczmarek edged out Adeleke for her first major individual title and her time of 48.98 smashed Irena Szewinska’s legendary national record of 49.28 which was set in 1976. Her time was also the fastest by a European this century.

Kaczmarek, whose previous personal best of 49.48 was set last year, was pushed all the way to the line by her Irish rival who had already got the taste for European gold as part of the mixed 4x400m relay team and who was eager to add a senior European title to the U18 and U20 titles she has already won.

Adeleke, who arrived with a personal best of 49.20, improved her Irish record again down to 49.07, with bronze going to Lieke Klaver from the Netherlands, who won her second bronze of the championships having also made the rostrum in the mixed 4x400m. 

 

“Coming to the start I was dreaming about the Polish record but this 48.98 was something more than my imagination,” said Kaczmarek, who also won European silver in 2022 behind Bol as well as world silver last year in Budapest behind Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic.

“I was very well prepared for this championship and wanted to improve on my silver medal from Munich and this is what I managed to achieve tonight.

“So I am very proud about my performance. The run was good - I started pretty fast but the finish was very hard because there was a lot to fight for.”

Alexander the Great wins 400m gold in a championship record

Alexander Doom from Belgium took down the championship record with a massive personal best of 44.15 to win the men’s 400m title.

Doom, who won the world indoor title in Glasgow earlier this year, had looked less comfortable qualifying for the final than his rival Charles Dobson, who set a personal best of 44.46 in May and had maintained that form after running an easy 44.65 in his semifinal, the fastest ever semifinal in European Athletics Championships history.

Dobson lived up to his prediction as he applied steady pressure down the home straight to the Belgian running two lanes inside him. It looked momentarily as if the Briton had judged his surge to perfection – but Doom, despite looking relatively agonised, was having none of it.

Doom said that he had been to high altitude to train in order to manage his transition from indoor to outdoor racing – but added that he had been unsure if he would be fit to race.

 

“I am more confident, I know how I need to start the race, what I need to do and I think I gained that kind of respect for the race and that is the main thing for me now,” he said.

“For the rest of the season my goal is to try to get the medal with relays at the Olympics and maybe some individual one too. I am totally taped in so I was not even confident if I start the race because I was full of pain. And to finish the race like this, it is just amazing.”

Dobson’s enterprise was rewarded with a personal best of 44.38 which shifts him even closer to the peak of British one-lap running currently occupied former European champion Matthew Hudson-Smith, who reduced the continental mark to 44.07 shortly before these championships.

Liemarvin Bonevacia of the Netherlands was an exuberant bronze medallist in a season’s best of 44.88 ahead of Doom’s team-mate Jonathan Sacoor, who clocked a personal best of 44.98.

Home runner Luca Sito went out hard and ambitiously but faded to fifth in 45.04.

Another compelling duel is in prospect for tomorrow’s women’s 200m final, for which Britain’s Darryl Neita qualified fastest with 22.51, just 0.01 faster that Switzerland’s defending champion Mujinga Kambundji.




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