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Verheyden leads Belgian 1-2 in a fast 1500m in Rehlingen

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Former European U23 1500m champion Ruben Verheyden led a Belgian one-two in a fast 1500m at the Pfingstsportfest in Rehlingen, a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver meeting, on Sunday (19) afternoon.

Verheyden produced a strong finish to sweep past the pack in the home straight for victory in a lifetime best of 3:33.62 ahead of teammate Jochem Vermeulen in 3:33.70 although the winner was visibly disappointed to just fall short of the Olympic qualifying standard of 3:33.50 for Paris  2024.

In third-place, 34-year-old Raphael Pallitsch continued his late career surge with a 3:33.78 clocking to break the Austrian 1500m record of 3:34.69 which was set by Gunther Weidlinger all the way back in 2000.

On what was a successful afternoon for a large Belgian contingent in action, Jonathan Sacoor won the men’s 400m in 45.29 and Paulien Couckuyt won the women’s 400m hurdles in 55.83.

Luxembourg’s Patrizia Van Der Weken won the women’s 100m in 11.31 by a clear distance from Belgium’s Delphine Nkansa (11.50) with Olympic long jump champion Malaika Mihambo holding her own against the sprinting specialists, finishing third in 11.60.

Kaczmarek wins on home soil in Chorzow

European and world 400m silver medallist Natalia Kaczmarek was a popular winner on home soil at the Janusz Kusocinski Memorial in Chorzow, a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver meeting, on Saturday (18) afternoon.  

Kaczmarek won the 400m in 50.42 for a clear victory over Great Britain’s Laviai Nielsen in 51.47 although the second fastest time overall came from Ireland’s Sharlene Mawdsley who won the ‘B’ race in 50.72 - her first sub-51 second clocking. 

Other highlights included Poland’s Filip Rak winning the 1500m in a massive lifetime best and Polish U23 record of 3:33.74 (his previous outdoor lifetime best was 3:37.30) and Italy’s Catalin Tecuceanu winning the 800m in 1:44.22

The Meeting de Montgeron, a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze event, was highlighted by an excellent and competitive 110m hurdles which was won by Michael Obasuyi in a Belgian record of 13.20 ahead of Great Britain’s Andrew Pozzi who clocked 13.23 for his fastest time since 2020. 

Aurel Manga and Raphael Mohamed were third and fourth in 13.23 and 13.27 respectively. 

Megan Keith secured her place on the British Olympic team for Paris 2024 with victory in the Night of the 10,000m PBs in Highgate, London on Saturday (18) evening. The European U23 5000m and cross country champion mustered up a sprint finish in the home straight to outkick US Olympic Marathon Trials winner Fiona O'Keeffe, 31:03.02 to 31:03.46.

World U20 200m champion Blessing Afrifah and European senior finalist won the 200m on home soil at the Grand Slam Winner meeting in Jerusalem, a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver meeting, on Sunday (19) in 20.47.

Elsewhere around Europe…

At the prestigious Gotzis Hypo-Meeting, world bronze medallist Anouk Vetter from the Netherlands tallied a world leading score of 6642 points for victory in the heptathlon ahead of Switzerland’s Annik Kalin (6506 points) who also surpassed the Roma 2024 standard in the 100m hurdles (12.97) and long jump (6.70m) across the two days. 

Behind Canada’s Damian Warner who took his eighth victory in the decathlon with 8678 points, Sven Roosen from the Netherlands enjoyed a breakthrough competition. The two-time European U23 medallist finished second with a lifetime best of 8517 points, setting six individual lifetime bests along the way. 

Just four days after producing a massive world leading mark of 22.95m to move to fifth on the world all-time list in Savona, Leonardo Fabbri threw far in excess of the 22 metre-line in Lucca on Sunday (19), reaching out to 22.59m in the shot put.

Reigning European champion Filip Mihaljevic was also in good early season form on the road to Roma 2024, opening his outdoor campaign with a mark of 21.71m in Slovenska Bistrica on Saturday (18). 

National records fell on the second day of the Nordic Championships in Malmø. European U23 400m silver medallist Henriette Jaeger from Norway won the 200m in 22.58 and Daniel Ingi Egilsson revised the Icelandic long jump record with 8.21m. 

At the Ukrainian Team Championships in Lutsk, Iryna Herashchenko took the victory with a 1.95m clearance ahead of Yuliya Chumachenko with 1.92m. 




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