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National records tumble on the final day of the Spanish Indoor Championships

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  • National records tumble on the final day of the Spanish Indoor Championships

Enrique Llopis ran a brilliant breakthrough time of 7.48 to win the 60m hurdles title at the Spanish Indoor Championships in Madrid on 20 February, one of four Spanish records to be set on the final day of competition.

His time equalled the national record of Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega, marking the 21-year-old as one to watch at the upcoming Istanbul 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships from 2-5 March. 

Reigning European outdoor champion Asier Martinez was also in the final but he clattered through one of the hurdles and was subsequently disqualified.

There was another searing performance by defending European indoor champion Oscar Husillos in the 400m on the same day. The 29-year-old set a national record of 45.58. It is the fifth fastest time in the world this year. He was chased home by Iñaki Canal, who also dipped under 46 seconds in 45.89. 

It was a packed weekend of high-quality at the three-day domestic gathering in the Spanish capital. Three-time European indoor medallist Jorge Urena booked his place at next month’s championships with a winning heptathlon score of 6173 points.

Urena won gold in Glasgow 2019, bookended by silver in Belgrade 2017 and Torun 2021. He will head to Istanbul looking to prolong his medal run. 

There was a surprise in the 800m where world indoor and European outdoor champion Mariano Garcia was just edged out by Saul Ordonez. The world indoor bronze medallist won in 1:45.88, just 0.03 ahead of Garcia with Javier Miron a mere 0.07 further back in a thriller. In a race of terrific depth, Olympic fifth-placer Adrian Ben could only finish fourth albeit in an indoor lifetime best of 1:46.12. 

Former European indoor champion Adel Mechaal was a dominant winner of the 3000m in 7:44.15 to confirm his place on Spain’s team while world and Olympic 1500m finalist Marta Perez won the women’s 3000m in 9:07.60.

Jordan Diaz had three jumps in the triple jump which were all in excess of the previous Spanish record. Diaz recently improved the mark to 17.49m but the 21-year-old, who is coached by Ivan Pedroso, ameliorated the record to 17.58m and then 17.59m. His other valid effort was measured at 17.50m.

However, the former Cuban will only be eligible to represent Spain internationally from 28 June 2024 onwards. 

Cambours and Kwaou-Mathey lay down markers at French Indoor Championships

On the first day of the French Indoor Championships in Aubiere on Friday (17), Leonie Cambours won the pentathlon title with 4603 points to clinch a place for Istanbul.

This score puts her second on the 2023 European list behind Poland’s Adrianna Sulek with 4860 points although Belgians Nafissatou Thiam and Noor Vidts - both of whom look set to compete in Istanbul - are yet to compete in a combined events competition this year. 

The championships concluded with a thrilling men’s 60m hurdles final which produced a victory for Just Kwaou-Mathey in a lifetime best of 7.53 ahead of his more esteemed compatriots Pascal Martinot-Lagarde and Dimitri Bascou, both of whom clocked 7.58 to finish second and third respectively.

Three sprinters also broke the eight second-barrier in the women’s 60m hurdles. After clocking 7.90 in the heats, Laeticia Bapte won the final in 7.95 ahead of world indoor champion Cyrena Samba-Mayela (7.98) and Judy Marie Aime Chalcou (7.99)

Other winners included Margot Chevier who won the women’s pole vault with a best of 4.61m. There was also a fine competition in the women’s high jump won on countback by Solene Gicquel from Nawal Meniker, though both were highly content with a new personal best of 1.92m. 

Fierce middle distance action at the British Indoor Championships

On the second day of the British Indoor Championships in Birmingham on Sunday (19), there was a thrilling 1500m fought out by European finalists Ellie Baker and Katie Snowden.

Baker came out on top, kicking clear in the latter stages to win by 0.26 in 4:06.73. It also gave Baker a new championship record, breaking the previous mark of 4:06.87 set by Zola Budd in 1986.

“I honestly cannot believe it. I knew I was in great shape coming into the indoor season, but it hasn’t been showing in my races which for me has been super frustrating,” she said. 

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In-form Neil Gourley won the men’s 1500m final in 3:41.20 to secure his place for Istanbul. He was stretched by George Mills before taking charge on the final lap, leaving Mills 1.67 adrift in second.  

There was another fierce encounter in the women’s 3000m as Melissa Courtney-Bryant and Hannah Nuttall went head-to-head. Experience eventually told as 2019 European indoor bronze medallist Courtney-Bryant edged ahead to win by 0.09 in 8:50.76. 

In the field, two-time European outdoor medallist Jazmin Sawyers continued with her impressive streak indoors, winning gold with a best of 6.73m. 

Meanwhile, another in-form athlete Morgan Lake, who recently improved the British record to 1.99m, won the high jump with 1.90m.   

Chris Broadbent for European Athletics

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