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Holzdeppe's hitting the heights


It was a weekend consumed by national championships - and a weekend to remember for so many.

And if timing is the essence in the build-up to the IAAF World Championships in Beijing next month, then Germany’s defending pole vault champion Raphael Holzdeppe is on the right path.

Having missed last year with a back injury, Holzdeppe showed how determined he is to retain his title by achieving a personal best and meeting record of 5.94m at his country’s 115th national championships.

While he would have kept a close eye, no doubt, on Renaud Lavillenie’s 6.03m in London on Saturday, Holzdeppe showed his top form as he looks to repeat his countback defeat of the Frenchman in Moscow in 2013 when the winning height was 5.89m.

The German’s previous best of 5.91m was from two years ago and he attempted 6.00m and 6.02m.

As previewed here on Friday, Alina Reh maintained her brilliant run of form as she won Germany’s 5000m title and beat defending champion Sabrina Mockenhaupt in record style.

The weekend after winning 3000m and 5000m gold at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Eskilstuna, Reh broke the national junior mark of 15:51.48 to triumph by some distance over Mockenhaupt in 16:10.16.

Whatever experience she will gain in Beijing will only enhance what is looking like a big future for the 18-year-old Reh.

It was a great championship for another teenager as Jackie Baumann, 19, the daughter of 1992 Olympic 5000m champion Dieter Baumann, won the 400m hurdles in 57.18.

Borlée's land a 1-2-3

The 400m was a Borlée family affair at the Belgium Championships in Brussels as the three brothers took the first three places.

Jonathan leads the European Athletics rankings (44.91) and on Sunday, he won the national title (45.27) as he beat twin Kevin (45.84) and Dylan (45.95). Along with Julien Watrin, the trio combined to win gold in the 4x400m relay at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague in March and they could be a force again in China.

The hurdles produced a series of good results, with Michael Bultheel moving to joint fifth on the European rankings with victory in a personal best (49.04), which is the Beijing standard, while national record-holder Anne Zagre (12.87) won the 100m hurdles as she beat Norway´s Isabelle Pedersen (12.92) and took the 100m, too, in 11.49.

Greek pair fly in for glory

After competing at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in London on Saturday, and with just four hours sleep after heading back to Athens as quickly as possible, pole vaulters Ekaterini Stefanidi and Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou made it to the Greek championships.

And though Kyriakopoulou had won in London (4.79m) with Stefanidi (4.62m) in third, fortunes were reversed this time.

Stefanidi triumphed with 4.65m as she beat Kyriakopoulou with 4.60m while the previous day, Konstadínos Filippídis had won the men’s event with 5.82m.

Louis Tsatoumas took the long jump with 8.09m and Miltos Tentoglou, 17, broke the national youth record with 7.73m to take third place.

Emotions were high for Periklis Iakovakis, 36, the 2006 European 400m hurdles champion, who ran his final race at the distance - and bowed out in style by winning his 16th successive national title in 51.69.

Fassinotti jumps to it

Like his fellow Greek athletes, Italian high jumper Marco Fassinotti came from London to take the national title in Turin (2.30m) and in the triple jump, as Fabrizio Donato won (16.91m), Tobia Bocchi, the silver medallist in Eskilstuna, broke the national junior record with 16.54m for third.

European champion Libania Grenot (51.47) won the 400m while Filippo Randazzo, the European junior bronze medallist, took his long jump personal best from 7.74m in Sweden the week before to 7.76m.

In Varazdin, Ivan Horvat broke the Croatian national pole vault record by three centimetres with 5.65m and in Nova Gorica, the newly-crowned European under-23 pole vault champion Robert Renner won the Slovenian title with 5.45m.

There are 45 meetings in Europe this week, for full details go to