France and Russia lead at the end of day two - European Cup
Saturday 18 June 2005
Florence, Italy - Strong performances by the French men’s squad and a continued dominance by the Russian women highlighted the second day of the SPAR European Cup on a stellar afternoon in the Tuscan capital.
French sweep in the 100m
Christine Arron claimed an impressive win in the short dash, clocking 11.10 in just her second race of the season. The Frenchwoman, the European record holder, gained the lead less than 40 meters into the race and easily held off the challenge of runner-up Olga Fyodorova (11.21) of Russia and Maria Karastamati (11.30) of Greece, the European indoor championships bronze medallist.
With Arron setting the tone, Ronald Pognon claimed a strong victory of his own to keep French fortunes in the 100 metres intact. Clearly in the lead at the midway point, the 22-year-old Frenchman held off the closing surge of Mark Lewis-Francis to win in 10.06 (wind +2.1) to the Briton’s 10.10.
“The French record (10.02) is within my reach,” said Pognon, who sped to an indoor European record of 6.45 in the 60 metres last winter. Pognon next start will be at the Gaz de France Golden League meeting in Paris on 1 July.
The French sprint rally continued with Marc Racquil’s victory in the 400. The 28-year-old held on for a narrow 45.80 win over fast-finishing Simon Kirch (45.86) of Germany to claim the third European Cup crown of the last five editions.
Antyukh helps Russia forge ahead
Adding to the hefty Russian lead that emerged by the end of the afternoon was a dominating 50.67 win in the 400 by Natalya Antyukh. The 23-year-old bettered runner-up Antonina Yefremova (51.56) by nearly a full second, with Dimitra Dova of Greece third with a PB 51.89. Ionela Tirlea-Manolache of Romania, the Olympic silver medallist in the 400m Hurdles, was a distant fourth (52.09).
Keita fires up an unstoppable French assault
The strong second day for the French men began early with Naman Keita’s dominating win in the 400m Hurdles. Powering down the final straight, the Olympic bronze medallist reached the line with a season’s best 48.77, more than 2/10s ahead of Pole Marek Plawgo (48.99), also a season’s best. With an enthusiastic crowd urging him on, italy’s Gianni Carabelli finished third, with a personal best 49.04.
Jumping to a lead by hurdle two, Anna Jesien sped to a strong victory in the women’s full lap hurdles, 54.90. The 26-year-old, who lowered a national record that had stood for 20 years with a 54.22 performance this spring, gained important first-place points for the Polish squad, relegating favorite Yekaterina Bikert of Russia into second. Bikert, an Olympic finalist in the 400 last year, clocked a season’s best 55.73. Germany Claudia Marx, nearly even with Jesien heading into the final straight, stumbled and nearly fell after hitting the penultimate hurdle, allowing the Russian to gain the advantage. Marx reached the line in 55.84.
Relay squad throws Britain a lifeline
With a come-from-behind anchor leg by Mark Lewis-Francis, the British men’s 4 x 100 relay squad pulled out a narrow victory in the final event of the second day, the first for the British team.
The quartet of Jason Gardener, Marlon Devonish, Christian Malcolm and Lewis-Francis reached the line in 38.67, just two 1/100s ahead of the surprise second-place Italian team.
A late hour change in the line-up, with Malcolm replacing Athens relay gold medallist Darren Campbell, resulted in a pair of rough handoffs before the baton reached Lewis-Francis. Heading into the final straight, Lewis-Francis was in third, behind both the Italian and French teams, and didn’t gain the lead until the final five meters.
“It was good for the team we ran today,” Lewis-Francis said. “There’s some things we need to touch up, but it was a good win.”
In the women’s 4x100m Relay, there was little doubt in the outcome when Russian anchor Yelena Kondratyeva bolted from the crowded stretch en route to a 42.73 win. Germany won the battle for second with a 43.58 performance, with Italy third in 43.85. France, anchored by 100 winner Arron, faded badly as Arron never gained full stride in the race, perhaps suggesting a possible injury.
Pyatykh defeats OIympic silver medallist
The women’s Triple Jump produced a quality competition, with Russian Anna Pyatykh setting the tone with her second round 14.72 leap, one that held on for the win. Hrisopiyi Devetzi, the Olympic silver medallist, was second with a season’s best 14.62, eight centimeters ahead of Italy’s Magdelin Martinez, who finished third.
The men’s Long Jump featured the closest battle in the infield, with Germany’s Nils Winter taking a one centimeter win over France’s Salim Sdiri with his third round 8.06 leap. After fouling the first three of his four jumps, Sdiri nearly pulled out the win on his fourth, falling short by the narrowest of margins. Vitaliy Shkurlatov of Russia, with a best of 7.98, was third.
As expected, Steffi Nerius of Germany dominated the javelin competetition. Eac of her three efforts – topped by her winning 64.59—bettered those of runner-up Barbara Madejczyk, who reached a Polish national record 61.72 to finish second. Italy’s Zahra Bani was third with a 61.66 best effort, the other other thrower to reach beyond 60 metres.
Bartels’ blast secures win
German-Spanish duals were the primary attractions in the two men’s throws on the programme. Favoured Ralf Bartels dispensed of the field quickly in the shot put with a 20.76 heave in the first round, easily besting Spaniard Manuel Martinez (20.28). The kits on the top podium were reversed in the Discus, with Mario Pestano of Spain producing a season’s best effort of 66.29 for the win, more than two meters better than German Michael Mollenbeck’s 64.12 effort.
Olympic bronze medallist Anna Rogowska of Poland won the Pole Vault with a 4.60 best, well ahead of Carolin Hingst’s 4.50 best effort. Rogowska, the Olympic bronze medallist, made three attempts at a national record 4.80, with her last relatively close.
Close two lap battle
The women’s 800m was expected to be a tightly-knit affair, and in the end it was, with just 14/100s of a second separating the top four finishers.
Maria Cioncan, an 800/1500 Olympic finalist last summer, best survived the closing mad dash for the tape with her 2:00.88 win. Monika Gradzki of Germany outleaned Svetlana Klyuka for second with a season’s best 2:01.00, just 2/100s ahead of the Russian. In the only men’s distance race on the program, Juan Carlos Higuero kept Spanish success intact in the men’s long races with his 3:41.72 win in the 1500. Mounir Yemmouni of France was second in 3;42.10, just ahead of Pole Pawel Czapiewski’s personal best 3:42.19.
Yelena Zadorozhnaya dominated the field in the 3000 en route to a comfortable 8:57.08 win. The diminutive 27-year-old who was fourth in the Olympic 5000 last year, led much of the race that saw the lead pack slowly reduced from five with five laps to go to three two laps later – The Russian, Tetyana Kryvobok of Ukraine and Mihaela Botezan of Romania. Zadorozhnaya began to pull away at the bell to secure the win, while Maria Martins of France surpassed the fading Kryvobok (9:01.65) and Botezan (9:02.84) to finish second with a personal best 9:00.71.
France from Germany at the end of day two
France, with 67 points, holds an 11 ½ point margin over Germany in the men’s race for the team title, with Poland third (57.5). The Russian women, the defending champions, are the verge of yet another dominating win. With 84 ½ points, the lead Germany by a hefty 20 ½ points. Poland, In third place with 62 points, Poland trails Germany by just two points.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF