The Belgian Indoor Championships in Gent this weekend were highlighted by a national indoor pole vault record by Fanny Smets who improved the mark to 4.40m and the competitive return of reigning Olympic and European heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam.
In her first competition since the World Athletics Championships in Doha where she won silver behind Great Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Thiam finished fourth in the 60m hurdles final in 8.34, the second fastest time of her career. She clocked 8.37 in the heats.
“I was good over the first three hurdles in the heats, a bit less so at the end, and I tried to think about it in the final where I ran slightly faster,” Thiam told local media after her competition. “I was pleased. I didn’t expect anything because I am far from my competition form. I have nonetheless run faster than I expected because I was running in the 8.40 range two years ago.”
Eleven years after winning the European indoor title in Turin, Eline Berings continued her promising start to the season by winning the 60m hurdles final in 8.10. She was faster in the heats, stopping the clock at 8.07.
Other highlights included European U20 champion Thomas Carmoy clearing 2.23m in the high jump, Robin Hendrix winning the 3000m in 7:51.29 and Michael Obasuyi winning the 60m hurdles in 7.69.
Lang and Del Ponte produce the highlights at the Swiss Indoor Championships
Salome Lang produced one of the highlights of the Swiss Indoor Championships in St. Gallen. The 22-year-old has already broken the long-standing domestic indoor record this season with 1.93m and she improved that mark by one centimetre courtesy of a third-time clearance at 1.94m.
Another athlete who has showed good early season form is Ajla Del Ponte, one of the mainstays on Switzerland’s successful sprint relay team in recent years. Del Ponte won the 60m title in a European-leading time of 7.20 ahead of European 400m hurdles champion Lea Sprunger who came away with a lifetime best of 7.31.
Combined eventers also came away with their fair share of individual titles. European U20 decathlon champion Simon Ehammer set an indoor lifetime best of 7.80m to win the long jump, Dominik Alberto cleared 5.40m to win the pole vault and European U20 heptathlon bronze medallist Annik Kalin won the 60m hurdles in 8.34 and was second in the long jump with 6.29m.
Experience prevailed in the 800m with Selina Buchel beating Delia Sclabas - 2:06.84 to 2:07.29 - although Sclabas did win the 1500m title on the same day in 4:24.32. Elsewhere, Angelica Moser cleared 4.50m in the pole vault and European U23 110m hurdles champion Jason Joseph won the 60m hurdles in 7.66.
At the Finnish Indoor Championships in Tampere, world U20 pole vault record-holder Wilma Murto produced one of the highlights with a 4.60m clearance before three attempts at 4.70m.
Estonia has a new national 60m indoor record-holder after Karl Erik Nazarov ran 6.68 at the Estonian Indoor U23 championships in Tallinn. The 20-year-old broke the mark of 6.71 set by Argo Goldberg in 2003. Athletics success runs very much in his family, with his uncle being Andrei Nazarov, the former Estonian decathlon record-holder.