He may not have made the podium at the Gavle 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships but Italian high jumper Stefano Sottile is currently on top of the world.
Sottile was the star of the show at the Italian Championships in Bressanone as he won the event with 2.33m, breaking Gianmarco Tamberi’s national U23 record of 2.31m set in this competition seven years ago. Fourth in Gavle earlier this month, Sottile now sits joint top of the world list with European bronze medallist Ilya Ivanyuk and Mikhail Akimenko.
Tamberi was not competing but Sottile is now up to second behind the reigning European indoor champion on the Italian all-time list behind his 2.39m from the Monaco Diamond League in 2016.
It was a determined performance from Sottile, going over at 2.22m and 2.28m on the second attempt and clearing 2.33m at the third go. A height of 2.36m was out of reach this time.
There was title success for Marcell Jacobs who sprinted to 100m glory in 10.10 while Matteo Galvan won the 400m in 45.59 from European U20 champion Edoardo Scotti (46.40) and European U23 medalist Brayan Lopez (46.64). In the shot put, Chiara Rosa won her 25th national title with 16.10m.
Stefanidi rounding into form at the Greek Championships
By her exalted standards, it has not been the very best of summers thus far for Olympic, world and two-time European pole vault champion Ekaterini Stefanidi but the Greek is coming back into some excellent form with Doha looming on the horizon.
Her decision to compete at the Greek Championships in Patras this weekend proved to be a fruitful one as she is right back where she would want to be in her preparations for the IAAF World Championships at the end of September.
Having entered the competition with a season’s best of 4.75m, Stefanidi climbed to 4.83m before attempting a Greek record of 4.92m.
Greek Nationals. Got 2 SB, a meeting record of 4.83m and very much love Ã¢Â¤ (can’t see it in the video but we had one of the biggest turnouts of recent years with close to 5 thousand people in the stadium) #nike #stoiximan #nbg #toyota #elpe #tempur #seventeen #lorvenn pic.twitter.com/G0Cvbbomw0— Katerina Stefanidi (@KatStefanidi) July 29, 2019
In the men’s competition, Konstantinos Filippidis, the 2014 world indoor champion, beat Emmanouil Karalis to lift the national title for a 12th time. He cleared 5.71m, with his opponent’s best being 5.60m.
As Stefanidi was taking gold in Berlin, so too was teammate Miltiadis Tentoglou, 21, who is having another fabulous summer. Just two weeks ago he was crowned the European U23 champion in Gavle and now he is the national champion after a fine 8.22m.
World champions Schippers and Bosse in command on the track
Dafne Schippers will be chasing a third successive 200m world crown in Doha, a feat only achieved once before, by US athlete Allyson Felix, and she warmed up by showing good speed to win the 100m at the Dutch Championships in Den Haag.
Schippers triumphed in 11.33 to beat Jamile Samuel, second in 11.52, and newly-crowned European U20 100m silver medallist N'Ketia Seedo, third in 11.61.
The men’s 100m title went to Hensley Paulina in 10.35 from Christopher Garia (10.41) ahead of 2016 European champion Churandy Martina (10.42) although the latter did win the 200m title in 21.00.
The last IAAF World Championships in London saw a sensational victory for France’s Pierre Ambroise Bosse in the 800m and the 27-year-old was crowned national champion again, winning the title in his specialist event in 1:48.82.
There was a good victory, too, for Djilali Bedrani in the 3000m steeplechase as he beat Yoann Kowal – 8:34.00 to 8:36.91 – and in the multi-events, Antoniette Nana Djimou, the European champion in 2012 and 2014, won the heptathlon with 5944 points on her comeback from injury.
Renaud Lavillenie will be looking to re-establish himself as the world’s top pole vaulter in Doha and he won with a season’s best of 5.86m. Wilhem Belocian landed the 110m hurdles title in a wind-aided 13.14 (+3.0) from Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (13.41) while Kevin Mayer performed excellently against the individual specialists, finishing fourth in 13.49. He also took a chunk from his PB with 13.60 in the heats.
Alexandra Tavernier won the hammer with 69.75m, Belgium's Claire Orcel produced a personal best of 1.94m for victory in the high jump while Melina Robert-Michon threw 60.55m to win the discus.
Jimmy Vicaut set a season’s best of 10.02 in the 100m heats but the joint European record-holder withdrew from the final as a precaution. With Vicaut sidelined, Ivory Coast’s Arthur Gue Cisse won the final in poor weather conditions in 10.38 while the French title went to Amaury Golitin in 10.43.
Spotakova sets the standard again in Brno
Over 13 years since winning silver at the European Championships in Gothenburg, the Czech Republic’s javelin star Barbora Spotakova will be chasing more glory in Doha as the defending champion and seeking a fourth world crown.
And she cannot be ruled out as she showed on the final day of the Czech Championships in Brno on Sunday when a throw of 63.14m saw her take the crown. In the men’s event, Jakub Vadlejch reached 83.22m to win ahead of Vitezslav Vesely (79.27m).
Jan Veleba had the run of his life as he equalled the national 100m record in 10.16, with the man he shares the accolade with, Zdenek Stromsik, a narrow second in 10.17.
Lada Vondrova, who won European U23 400m silver in Gavle, will be heading to Doha after reaching the qualifying standard and breaking her personal best with a superb victory in the 400m 51.71 from 400m hurdles star Zuzana Hejnova, who was second in 52.44.
There was also an excellent standard in the javelin at the Latvian Championships in Ogre as Gatis Cakss won with 83.72m from Rolands Strobinders (82.47m) and Madara Palameika won the women's javelin with 83.72m.
Luca Kozak defeated Grete Kerekes in the 100m hurdles at the Hungarian Championships in Budapest, 12.89 to 12.99. Valdo Szucs won the 110m hurdles in a 13.41 PB and Reka Gyuratz achieved a lifetime best of 72.70m in the hammer.
Veteran Martina Ratej won the javelin at the Slovenian Championships in Celje with a season's best of 63.79m and recently crowned European U23 champion Kristjan Ceh won the discus with 61.97m.
World fourth placer Janek Oiglane scored 8251 points to win the decathlon title at the Estonian Championships in Rakvere.
Tomas Veszelka set a lifetime best of 16.91m to win the triple jump title at the Slovakian Championships in Brno and Martina Hrasnova won the hammer title with 72.02m.
Double European U23 champion Anna Emilie Moller won the 1500m (4:18.76) and 5000m (15:35.04) titles at the Danish Championships in Esbjerg and Olympic silver medallist Sara Slott Petersen won the 400m hurdles in 56.99.
There were fast times in the sprints at the Irish Championships in Dublin. European finalist Leon Reid won the 200m title in 20.62 and Ciara Neville won the 100m in a PB of 11.33.