Events & Meetings

Laros unleashes 51.35 last lap to win 1500m gold in Jerusalem

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  • Laros unleashes 51.35 last lap to win 1500m gold in Jerusalem

Niels Laros and Agate Caune underlined why they are considered two of the continent's brightest distance running prospects with commanding albeit contrasting victories on the third morning session of the Jerusalem 2023 European Athletics U20 Championships on Wednesday (9).

Laros powered to victory in a tactical 1500m in 3:56.78 courtesy of an electric and unstoppable last lap of 51.35 which opened up an awesome winning margin of three seconds over Austria’s Kevin Kamenschak (3:59.73) and Czech Republic’s Ondrej Gajdos (4:00.98).

Laros is the second fastest European U20 in history behind Jakob Ingebrigtsen after clocking 3:32.89 for 1500m earlier this summer but the 18-year-old, who won two gold medals on the same track at the European Athletics U18 Championships last summer, didn’t take this victory for granted.  

“I never underestimate anyone. Everyone made it to the final, everyone wants to do his best. Everyone has his own strength so I only count on my own strong parts. Still, a final is a final and anything can happen so I am thankful for this gold…I do not want to look arrogant but I think it was hard to beat me today,” said Laros.  

Caune front runs to 3000m gold

By contrast Latvia’s Agate Caune led every step of the way in the 3000m final. For the first two kilometres, it looked as though Gabriela Szabo’s long-standing championship record of 8:50.97 would be due for revision but in hot and windy conditions, the 18-year-old fell off record pace slightly in the last two laps. 

But either way, her time of 8:53.20 was the second fastest in the history of the European Athletics U20 Championships and her winning margin of 28 seconds was by far the biggest in championship history. In a completely separate race for the other medals, Zuzanna Wiernicka won silver in 9:21.40, overhauling long-time second placer Sofia Benfares (9:25.42) from Germany on the last lap.

“The championship record was not my goal today. My goal was to run comfortably, to run great and focus for tomorrow because it is a longer distance and harder,” said Caune.


Both Laros and Caune will be seeking to embellish their medal tallies in the 5000m finals tomorrow evening on the road to their World Athletics Championships debuts in Budapest later this month.  

In the first event of the programme, Spain’s Sofia Santacreu also made a victorious return to the Givat Ram Stadium.

Just over a year after winning the 5000m race walk title at U18 level, Santacreu won over double the distance in the 10,000m race walk in 46:00 ahead of Italy’s Giulia Gabriele (46:57), the winner of the U20 race at the European Race Walking Team Championships in Podebrady in May.

Gold medal No.4 for Germany...and counting

The German success story at these championships continued in the men’s shot put final which yielded their fourth gold medal of the championships.

But the ownership of the title switched hands in the very last round with Lasse Schulz producing the only 20 metre-plus throw of the competition with 20.21m to displace his teammate Lukas Schober who had led with 19.76m. 

And the destination of the bronze medal also changed in the last round with Greece’s Dimitrios Antonatos setting a lifetime best of 19.31m to move ahead of the third German Georg Harpf with 19.17m and foil the prospective clean sweep. 


Schulz said: "We were very close to sweep the podium in the shot put but also gold and silver is good. But we are very proud also thanks to Georg finishing fourth - he did a great job. 

"In the last two competitions in Germany, I ended up behind Lukas. So I was OK with the silver before the last attempts. But I wanted to try my best to reach the gold. Coming to the sixth series, everything went well and I took the lead. It was a very nice throw."

Another German Tabea Eitel set a European U20 lead and lifetime best of 6.59m to lead the two pools of long jump qualifying. She will be joined by the likes of Serbia's Angelina Topic who turns her attention to tonight's high jump final after surpassing the automatic qualifying line with 6.50m on her first attempt.

However, the big shock of the morning was the departure of world U20 discus champion Emma Sralla from Sweden who produced three no-throws in qualifying. The two pools were led by Germans Lea Bork and Milina Wepiwe who threw 52.34m and 52.24m respectively.  

Steven Mills for European Athletics


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