Events & Meetings

Record-breaker Babayev in a class of his own

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  • Record-breaker Babayev in a class of his own

Azerbaijan's Nazim Babayev produced the performance of the week in Eskilstuna today with a stunning leap in the triple jump to smash a record that had stood for nearly 30 years on a final day of the 23rd European Athletics Junior Championships where Great Britain & Northern Ireland won six gold medals.

Just a few weeks after becoming one of his country's heroes when he triumphed at the first European Games in Baku, Babayev, 17, took his career to a new level as he lit up the final with 17.04m to break a championship record that was set in Cottbus back in August 1985.

His success came in the second round as Babayev replaced the mark of 16.93m which East Germany's Volker Mai had jumped on August 25 1985.

Babayev's leap was also a national junior record and after an opening 16.44m, no-one could have predicted he would take his personal best from 16.61m to this amazing level.

Italy's Tobia Bocchi had led from the first round (16.51m), a distance which brought him second, with Pavlo Beznits, of the Ukraine, third (16.10m). But they had no answer to Bayavev's golden distance.

Britain finished top of the medal table with 11 golds after their Super Sunday.

It began with victory for Kyle Langford in the 800m, then the women's 4x100m relay team combined for glory, before Bobby Clay won the women's 1500m, Morgan Lake took the high jump, Adam Hague won the pole vault and then the women made it a relay double by taking the 4x400m.

The men's 800m final could not have been closer, with Langford, 19, seizing his chance to power through and win by one hundredth of a second (1:48.99) and gain revenge as he beat Russia's Konstantin Tolokonnikov and Mateusz Borkowski, of Poland, (1:49.21).

Two years ago at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Langford ended in third after not dipping on the line as Tolokonnikov won silver.

The relay team had seen their men disqualified from the heats in the morning but the women of Shannon Malone, 18, Shannon Hylton, 18, Charlotte McLennaghan, 17, and Imani Lansiquot, 19, were slick as they won in 44.18 from Poland (45.28) and France (45.35).

Lake, 18, is the world junior champion and one the championships' favourites beforehand, and after reaching the high jump final with her last attempt at 1.79m, she proved too strong for the rest today.

She went over 1.86m at her third attempt before clearing 1.89m in one go and then the winning mark of 1.91m on her second jump.

'It feels really special and because of last year I felt a little pressure coming into the competition today but I competed well and happy with the win,' said Lake.

Clay, 18, established a fine lead in the 1500m, a gap the rest could not bridge as she won in 4:17.91 and she led home a British one-two as Amy Griffiths was second (4:20.41) with Germany's Konstanze Klosterhalfen in third (4:20.84).

Hague, 17, Europe's No. 1 junior, cleared 5.50m to win the pole vault as the men behind him achieved personal bests, with Finland's Niko Koskinen second (5.35m) and Alioune Sene of France in third (5.30m).

Britain led all the way to win the 4x400m relay as their team of Cheriece Hylton, 18, Lina Nielsen, 19, Lily Beckford, 17, and Laviai Nielsen - Lina's twin - won (3:34.36) from Italy in a national junior record (3:37.45) and Russia (3:37.57).

Reh has her day - again

Germany's Alina Reh, 18, had been one of the stars on Saturday as she won the 3000m and produced another brilliantly controlled race to take her second gold with a blistering last lap in the 5000m final.

It quickly became a duel between her and Denmark's Anna Emilie Moller who was just behind her as the race reached its climax.

But as they hit the bell, Reh went for it and she was never going to be caught, winning in 16:02.01 from Moller in a personal best (16:07.43) with Spain's Carmela Cardama in third, also in a personal best, (16:23.81).

'Both races were tough, and it was my dream to win them both,' said Reh.

Italy took the men's 3000m steeplechase as Yohanes Chiappinelli, 17, won in 8:47.58 from Patrick Karl, of Germany (8:54.10) and Hungary's Balazs Juhasz third in a personal best (8:58.11).

Dolezal is the decathlon king

The decathlon junior went the way of Jan Dolezal, 19, of the Czech Republic, who was third overnight and replaced the first-day's top two on a Sunday that saw him win the discus (54.75m).

Dolezal took gold with 7929 points from Norway's Karsten Warholm, who had led after day one (7764) and Maksim Andraloits of Belarus, in third (7717).

Romania's Florentina Marincu, 19, justified her favourtisim to take the long jump.

She is the European Athletics Indoor bronze medallist and she won with 6.78m in the second round as Germany's Anna Buhler was second on countback (6.55m) from Fatima Diame, of Spain.

The last individual event was the women's javelin which saw gold go to Poland's Maria Andrejczyk, 19, with 59.73m.

And just as it looked like it might be a one-two for the country, Latvia's Anete Kocina ended that hope when she threw 58.88m with her final effort for silver from Aleksandra Ostrowska (56.24m).

All three had personal bests - infact there were six in the final - after four days of competition where more than 200 personal bests were broken in Eskilstuna.

The finale, the men's 4x400m, brought a worthy end to the drama as Russia snatched victory in the home straight with Ilya Krasnov, 19, overtaking France's Stephan Bertrand to lead his country home in 3:08.35.

Andrey Yefremov, 18, Andrey Kukharenko, 18, and 800m silver medallist Tolokonnikov, 19, set Krasnov on his way as France were eventually disqualified for a lane violation, so Italy were given silver (3:10.04) and Germany bronze (3:10.12).

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