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    A-Z of European Athletics in 2017 (part two)

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    N is for Nedasekau

    The Belarus high jumper Maksim Nedasekau came out on top of a wonderful contest at the European Athletics U20 Championships, improving his personal best three times before finishing with 2.33m and beating Vladimir Yashchenko’s legendary and long-standing championship record of from 1977 – more than two decades before Nedasekau was born – by three centimetres.

    O is for Ozbilen

    With the three most recent SPAR European Cross Country Championships senior men’s winners in the Turkey team, the betting was that one of them would get a second title but it was the rather unfancied Kaan Kigen Ozbilen, better known for his road running exploits, who came through to make it four different Turkish winners in as many years.

    P is for Persistence

    A decade on from being the world champion in the Japanese city of Osaka, Czech javelin thrower Barbora Spotakova showed class remains permanent as she took the title again at the IAAF World Championships London in August with 66.76m, a second round effort that proved enough for victory in the same stadium where she had won the Olympic Games gold in 2012.

    Q is for Qualifying

    Twelve months after failing to make the Rio 2016 Olympic Games final when he was the clear favourite for gold, Polish hammer thrower Pawel Fajdek this time showed nerves of steel in qualifying at the world championships, going through with his second throw of 76.82m and then progressing to win gold in 79.81m to lift his third consecutive title.

    R is for Reh

    After being overshadowed by her compatriot Konstanze Klosterhalfen in the U20 races at the last two SPAR European Cross Country Championships, Germany’s Alina Reh had a race-long duel with her team mate before finally leaving her trailing in her wake in the final kilometre to win the U23 title in Samorin, her first year in this age category.

    S is for Spanovic

    At the Kombank Arena in Belgrade in the final session of the European Athletics Indoor Championships, home star Ivana Spanovic went beyond all expectations by smashing her own national long jump record with a huge leap of 7.24m, a feat which climaxed an afternoon of noise and excitement from those lucky to have had the hottest ticket in town.

    U is for Ujah

    The first leg of a 4x100m relay is crucial and Chijindu Ujah gave Great Britain a superb start in the final in front of a home crowd at the IAAF World Championship London A quartet2017, with his fellow teammates also running the race of their lives as Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake combined for gold in a European record of 37.47, beating the favoured USA quartet into second place.

    V is for Volko

    It truly was a memorable year for Slovakian sprinter Jan Volko. After a winning 60m silver medal at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in a national record of 6.58m, he won 200m gold at the European Athletics U23 Championships in a championship and national record of 20.33 and also took 100m silver in 10.18.

    W is for WÅ‚odarczyk

    With a throw of 77.90m, Poland’ s Anita WÅ‚odarczyk became world champion for a fourth time – and the third occasion in a row – as she celebrated glory in London in a summer where she also again broke the 80 metre-barrier. For the third successive year she went undefeated and now has a win streak of 42 competitions.

    X is for the x-bionic sphere

    The x-bionic sphere was the venue in Samorin, Slovakia, in December for the superb SPAR European Cross Country Championships from where European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen tweeted: “I can say honestly that I have never been in such a fanatic venue as this for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships.”

    Y is for Yohann

    At the age of 39, and in a time of 3:33:12, a brilliant championship record and the second fastest time ever only beaten by his own world record, France’s Yohann Diniz finally won world championship gold in the 50km race walk in London, 10 years on from finishing second in Osaka.

    Z is for Zurich

    After his amazing season where he won world championships and European U23 gold medals, the prodigiously talented 21-year-old Karsten Warholm once more broke his Norwegian national 400m hurdles record with a run of 48.22 at the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich. His series of outstanding performances saw him voted at the European Athletics Rising Star of the Year.