02 March 2007
First medals won at European Athletics Indoor Championships
Defending champion Susanna Kallur stormed to victory in the final of the 60m hurdles. The Swede recovered from a poor start to take the title in 7.86 seconds. “It's really great and I can't believe it after that bad start,” Kallur said. “It shows I'm in good shape that I was able to get up to win.”
By contrast, Russia's Aleksandra Antonova had an outstanding reaction to the gun and was in front for the first half of the race until Kallur got into her stride. The Russian took a surprise silver medal in 7.94. "How happy can I be? Only happier with a gold. I was hoping for a medal but to get silver is just great," said Antonova.
Germany's Kirsten Bolm, another fast starter, got her second successive bronze medal with a season's best of 7.97, whilst Britain’s Sara McGreavy finished fifth.
But there was disappointment for Britain’s Andy Turner, who finished just outside the medals in fourth place in a tight men’s race. “The medal was there for the taking,” a disappointed Turner said afterwards. “All I had to do was run a decent race. I came out of the blocks badly, hit a couple of hurdles that I shouldn't, just one big messy race. You don't know how disappointed I am to miss this great opportunity.”
Gold went to Gregory Sedoc of the Netherlands in a time of 7.63 seconds with fellow Dutch man Marcel van der Westen just one-hundredth of a second adrift in silver medal position. An ecstatic Sedoc said: “This is so ridiculous -unbelievable. I never thought I would be able to become European Champion. It's crazy but I'm very pleased. I didn't know what had happened. I saw the finish photo and thought I was second or third, but then they said I was first. I have been making steady progress throughout my career and it's now time to improve my outdoor form. Getting a one two in the final has never happened before to the Netherlands and it's fantastic.”
Spain’s Jackson Quinonez took bronze in 7.65 seconds.
The first gold medal in the field was awarded to Mikulas Konopka (SVK), who took the shot put title with a throw of 21.57m, a new national record. It was an emphatic win from Konopka; who threw over 21m three times, a distance no other finalist could reach. “My training in recent months has been very good and I’d had signals that I was ready to throw over 21 metres but I didn’t expect to throw that far,” he explained. The two-time European under-23 champion also put behind him the misery of failing to make the final at the European Athletics Championships last summer. "I now want to be known as a man who at least makes the finals, not someone who struggles to qualify," he said.
A personal best of 20.82m from Belarusian Pavel Lyzhyn earned him silver, whilst defending champion Joachim Olsen of Denmark had to settle for the bronze. Belarus' Andrei Mikhnevich, the 2006 European Athletics Championships gold medallist, was back in fifth on this occasion with a relatively modest 20.12m one of only two valid puts.