Reigning European indoor and outdoor champions Miltiadis Tentoglou and Keely Hodgkinson set world-leading marks to take impressive wins at the Orlen Copernicus Cup in Torun in Poland on Wednesday (8), laying down major markers ahead of their title defences at next month’s European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
Tentoglou unleashed a leap of 8.40m in the second round of the long jump, adding 19cm to the previous world-leading mark held by USA’s Jeremiah Davis. It handed the Greek star a comfortable win over Sweden’s Thobias Montler - many times a runner-up to Tentoglou in major European competitions - who jumped 8.17m for second place..
Hodgkinson produced a composed, classy performance to take victory in the women’s 800m in a world-leading 1:57.87. The 20-year-old Brit, who recently set a world indoor 600m best of 1:23.41, sat off the swift early pace and steadily reeled in Benin’s Noelie Yarigo on the third lap before blowing by on the final lap.
Her time was also a meeting record and she further established her credentials as the firm favourite ahead of the showpiece event of the indoor season in Istanbul from 2-5 March.
"I’ll be there defending my title so fingers crossed I come away with another gold," said Hodgkinson who won European indoor 800m gold on this track two years ago while still a teenager.
Poland’s Pia Skrzyszowska proved she is the athlete to beat in Istanbul after another pristine performance in the women’s 60m hurdles. The 21-year-old exploded from the blocks and showed off some slick clearances before hitting the line in 7.79, just shy of the world lead of 7.78 that she ran at the Orlen Cup in Lodz last weekend and close to the Polish record of 7.77, set by Zofia Bielczyk in 1980.
Finland’s Reetta Hurske made further inroads into her national record with 7.81 in second, while two-time European indoor champion Nadine Visser of the Netherlands took fourth in 7.85 as she continues to return to form after hamstring injuries plagued her 2022 campaign.
Kambundji rounds into form with 7.06 60m victory
Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji recorded an impressive win in the 60m with the reigning world indoor champion powering away from the 2019 European indoor champion Ewa Swoboda of Poland to win in a season’s best of 7.06 ahead of Swoboda in 7.11.
Her time in Torun moved Kambundji up to fourth on the 2023 world list this year, and second in Europe behind the 7.04 by Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith’s last month.
Asher-Smith seems unlikely to compete in Istanbul but the focal point of the continental indoor season very much features in the plans of the athletes who finished first and second in the 60m in Arena Torun.
Lieke Klaver continued her strong start to the year with victory in the 400m, the Dutch athlete controlling the race from the outset and clocking 51.14, with Czech Republic’s Lada Vondrova second in 51.91 and Ukraine’s Viktoriya Tkachuk third in 52.52.
Sweden’s world indoor bronze medallist Carl Bengstrom was an impressive winner of the men’s 400m in 46.15 ahead of Denmark’s Benjamin Lobo Vedel (46.50) and Great Britain’s Alex Haydock-Wilson (46.70). There was another Swedish win in the men’s 800m where Andreas Kramer looked a class apart, clocking 1:46.37.
Azeddine Habz of France took an impressive win in the men’s 1500m, controlling the race from the front once the pacemaker stepped aside and holding off the challenge of Great Britain’s George Mills to clock an indoor PB of 3:35.59 - the second fastest indoor time in history by a Frenchman - with Mills second in 3:35.92 and Spain’s Jesus Gomez third in 3:36.33.
Habz’s winning time was the second quickest in the world this year, behind only Spain’s Mohammed Katir, who clocked 3:35.48 in Val-de-Reuil last weekend.
There was a high-quality battle among the leading Europeans in the men’s pole vault, with Rutger Koppelaar of the Netherlands and Ben Broeders of Belgium both setting personal bests, finishing second and third respectively with both clearing 5.82m.
Menno Vloon of the Netherlands also cleared a best of 5.82m and was edged into fourth on countback. Italy’s Claudio Michel Stecchi and Poland’s Piotr Lisek, a four-time European indoor medallist, were next best with 5.72m.
Germany’s Tobias Potye was the leading European in the men’s high jump, setting an indoor PB of 2.27m in second, beaten on countback by New Zealand’s Hamish Kerr.
Full results here.
Cathal Dennehy for European Athletics