Propelled by five track victories, the Netherlands are on course to return to the Super League in 2023 after the first day of competition at the European Athletics Team Championships First League in Cluj-Napoca, Romania on Saturday (19).
The Netherlands have accrued 175 points after 21 events and have a healthy cushion over the Czech Republic who occupy the second promotion spot with 160.5 points with Belarus (158 points) and Greece (154 points) still in the reckoning. At the other end of the spectrum, hosts Romania (94 points) and Estonia (79 points) occupy two of the relegation places along with Ireland who pulled out of the event.
The standout performance - and not just from a Dutch standpoint - was Femke Bol’s victory in the 400m. Fresh from a 53.44 clocking in the 400m hurdles in the Rome Diamond League, Bol reverted back to the 400m flat in Cluj-Napoca and the 21-year-old strode to an unopposed victory in 50.37.
Bol’s time was not only another Dutch record and a European lead but she also displaced the championship record of 50.50 set by Great Britain’s Perri Shakes-Drayton in the Super League eight years. Remarkably this was Bol’s tenth national record of the season across all distances even at this relatively early juncture of the summer season!
One of Bol’s training partners Jochem Dobber followed suit with victory in the men’s 400m in 45.40 and national record-holder Irene Van Der Reijken won the 3000m steeplechase in 9:39.00 ahead of Romania’s Elena Adelina Paneat in 9:41.68.
The Dutch team further embellished their promotion prospects on the first day by closing the programme with victories in both the men’s and women’s 4x100m. Naomi Sedney anchored the women’s team to victory in 43.38 ahead of a depleted Swiss team in 43.73 and veteran Churandy Martina held off a late charge from Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev to win the men’s 4x100m in 38.81 to 38.94.
Shortly after Bol’s record-breaking performance in the 400m, fellow European indoor champion Miltiadis Tentoglou from Greece also eclipsed the European Team Championships record in the men’s long jump.
Tentoglou began with 8.27m which would have handsomely sufficed for the victory but the world leader improved with his third effort, landing in the sandpit at 8.38m to add two centimetres to the previous record of 8.36m set by Russia’s Aleksandr Menkov also at the 2013 edition in Gateshead.
Given the calibre of the field, Tentoglou was surprisingly the only athlete to break the eight metre-line. Czech Republic’s Radek Juska collected eleven points in second place with 7.95m with Sweden’s Thobias Montler, who has twice won silver medals behind Tentoglou at the European Indoor Championships, third with 7.94m.
Another standout performance on the first day came from the in-form Finnish triple jumper Senni Salminen who set a European lead and national record of 14.63m in the fourth round to defeat former European U20 champion Violetta Skvartsova from Belarus by exactly half-a-metre.
After two failures at 4.60m, reigning European indoor champion Angelica Moser’s gamble to pass to a season’s best of 4.65m paid off as the Swiss claimed maximum points in the pole vault ahead of Greece’s Eleni-Klaoudia Polak with 4.60m.
The second day of competition will be streamed live through the European Athletics website again.
Full day one results can be found here.