European indoor champion clocks 27:53.38 for 10,000m to win the first gold medal of the European Under-23 Championships in Tallinn
Turkey’s Ali Kaya beat the championship record by half a minute and the rest of the 10,000m field by more than a minute to claim the first title of the European Under-23 Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, on Thursday (July 9).
The 21-year-old, who claimed European indoor 3000m gold in Prague in March and did the 5000m and 10,000m double at the European Junior Championships in Rieti two years ago, clocked 27:53.38 to better the previous record of 28:31.12 after an expected display of front-running.
By the 200m mark Kaya was at the front and there he stayed, passing 1km in 2:40.93 and the 2km mark in 5:23.94. He remained on course to clearly break the championship record by going though half-way in 13:49.77.
A strong finish saw the dominiant winner go sub-28 minutes as Russia’s Mikhail Strelkov ran a 28:53.94 PB for silver. While Kaya’s win was clear there was a battle for the minor medals and bronze medal-winner Yassine Rachik of Italy ran 28:53.99.
Britain’s Marc Scott clocked 29:21.99 for sixth but his team-mate Kieran Clements was forced to drop out after suffering breathing problems.
“I am satisfied with the first place and my time today,” said Kaya, who will now contest the 5000m.
“It is a good time but I had to keep in mind that I still have to run 5000m in this competition. My tactics was to start fast and then I knew I would have a lead that I could keep until the end.”
The other final on the first day of competition was the women’s shot and the title was claimed by Viktoryia Kolb of Belarus who threw a personal best and European under-23 leading 17.47m to beat Germany’s European discus bronze medallist Shanice Craft with her last attempt. Craft couldn’t respond but her 17.29m secured her the silver ahead of her team-mate Sara Gambetta with a 16.99 PB. Craft, who is also set to contest the discus in Tallinn, later explained how she had suffered a knee problem ahead of the final and was happy with her silver. Britain’s Sophie McKinna finished ninth with 15.68m.
Earlier qualifying action had seen Romania’s Bianca Razor go quickest in the 400m heats with a PB and European under-23 leading time of 51.31. Britain’s Seren Bundy-Davies had been the quickest so far this season heading into the competition and the European indoor bronze medallist easily secured her spot in Saturday’s final, winning the second heat in 52.05. Her team-mate Kirsten McAslan ran a PB of 52.13 for a fastest loser spot to also progress.
Russia’s Valeriy Pronkin led hammer qualifying as British champion Nick Miller threw 71.37m to also make the final, while other British athletes to also progress included Elizabeth Bird and Iona Lake in the 3000m steeplechase, Cameron Boyek and Neil Gourley in the 1500m, Adelle Tracey and Katie Snowden in the 800m and Chris Kandu in the high jump.
Hungary’s Xenia Krizsan leads the heptathlon standings overnight with 3680 points ahead of Austria’s Ivona Dadic with 3541 and Russia’s Lyubov Tkach with 3527.
» Results for the first day of action can be found here, with action in Tallinn resuming at 10am local time (8am UK) on Friday