TORUŃ, POLAND, March 07 — The men’s side of the 36th European Indoor Championships closed with a pair of world leaders, a 7-9¼ (2.37) by Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus in the high jump and a 6392 heptathlon by France’s Kevin Mayer. The best mark of the day, though, probably belonged to Mondo Duplantis, with a 19-10¼ (6.05) clearance in the vault.
The 8 finals (read about the Sunday women’s finals here):
The locals had plenty to cheer about as the Poles went 1–2 and added a 4th for good measure. The winner was a bit of a surprise, given that he had apparently never run a competitive 800 before this year. That would be Patryk Dobek, a 27-year-old former 400 hurdler.
With only a handful of 800s on his résumé, Dobek ran a good tactical race in lowering his PR from 1:47.12 to 1:46.81. He languished at the back of the 6-man field for the first two laps before moving up to 3rd behind Jamie Webb and Pierre-Ambroise Bosse with a lap and a half to go. As they approached the bell, Dobek hugged the rail before pouncing.
“I was taking risks,” he admitted, “because I didn’t know when the others would make a move. I had to change my rhythm to overtake the others. When I saw them moving to the right, I used the chance to overtake them on the inside.”
Dobek’s strong last lap gave him gold, but moving best of all was teammate Mateusz Borkowski, last at the bell and still just 4th with a half-lap remaining. He powered up the stretch to displace Webb for silver, 1:46.90–1:46.95.
Medals: 1. Patryk Dobek (Poland) 1:46.81 PR; 2. Mateusz Borkowski (Poland) 1:46.90; 3. Jamie Webb (Great Britain) 1:46.95.
Defending champ Jakob Ingebrigtsen was looking for a double after having won the 1500 on Saturday. He found it. And got a 7:48.20 PR to boot.
“I ran this race according to plan,” he said. I was surprised my competitors let me do my own thing, without interrupting me.” As it played out, the 20-year-old Norwegian led the first 2½ laps, dropped back into the middle of the 12-man pack for much of the race and was back in the lead by 2100m.
Spain’s Mohamed Katir was on his shoulder at the bell, but Ingebrigtsen was just too strong on the last lap with Katir drifting back to 4th (7:47.72) as Isaac Kimeli of Belgium (7:49.41) and Adel Mechaal of Spain (7:49.27) came up for the other two medals.
The winner’s plan for the rest of the year? “For the Tokyo Olympics, my mail goal is the 1500m. Olympic gold is something I’ve wanted almost since I was a toddler.”
Medals: 1. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Norway) 7:48.20 PR; 2. Isaac Kimeli (Belgium) 7:49.41; 3. Adel Mechaal (Spain) 7:49.27.
Men’s 60 Hurdles
“I can’t tell you how the race went, I just knew that I owned the race,” said Wilhem Belocian. The numbers say the 25-year-old Frenchman was correct, as he had the fastest reaction time and was first across the line in 7.42, a PR by 0.03.
“Owned” is perhaps a bit strong, because a fast RT doesn’t necessarily guarantee the best start, and that belonged to Italy’s Paolo Dal Molin, drawn two lanes to Belocian’s right. He was clearly in the lead, with Belocian also a shade behind favored Andy Pozzi of Britain. Belocian and Pozzi soon pulled away and went at it stride-for-stride for much of the race. It wasn’t until the fifth and final hurdle that Belocian had any kind of distinct margin, narrow as it was as Pozzi crossed the line just 0.01 behind, equaling his PR.
Said the runner-up, “In previous races I had problems with the start, this time I started really well, but couldn’t find my rhythm in the middle of the race.”
Medals: 1. Wilhem Belocian (France) 7.42 PR; 2. Andy Pozzi (Great Britain) 7.43 =PR; 3. Paolo Dal Molin (Italy) 7.56.
Men’s 4 x 400
The Dutch foursome ruled from the gun, Jochem Dobber giving them a lead they never relinquished over the rest of the 5-nation field. In fact, the race was almost completely devoid of action, the Czechs (3:06.70) being in silver position from the 200 on and the Brits spending almost the entire race in 3rd.
The Netherlands squad was amazingly consistent, only 0.43 seconds separating the fastest leg from the slowest: Dobber 46.68, Liemarvin Bonevacia 46.64, Ramsey Angela 46.49, Tony van Diepen 46.25.
Said second man Bonevacia, “We feel good; we came here for the gold and we did it. Our legs were tired but we did it with our hearts.”
Medals: 1. Netherlands 3:06.06 (Jochem Dobber 46.68, Liemarvin Bonevacia 46.64, Ramsey Angela 46.49, Tony van Diepen 46.25); 2. Czech Republic 3:06.54 (Vít Müller 47.08, Pavel Maslák 46.24, Michal Desenský 46.93, Patrik Šorm 46.29); 3. Great Britain 3:06.70 (Joe Brier 47.43, Owen Smith 47.05, James Williams 46.09, Lee Thompson 46.13).
Men’s High Jump
Gianmarco Tamberi equaled his year-leading height… but lost. The Italian star passed the first three heights, then made four in a row on first attempt to have the lead at 7-7 (2.31). At that point all he had for company was Maksim Nedasekau, who had needed two tries at both 7-3¾ (2.23) and 7-6 (2.29).
But the Belarusian claimed the lead at 7-7¾ (2.33) when he went over on first attempt and Tamberi needed a pair. At a WL-equaling 7-8½ (2.35) each missed once, then Tamberi made on his second. After missing his second Nedasekau took the bold step of passing what would have been an indoor-PR height.
With just a single attempt available to him at 7-9¼ (2.37) the 23-year-old slipped over for a new PR and WL. And it was also good for the win when Tamberi couldn’t negotiate the height. Nedasekau ended his day with three misses at an MR-equaling 7-10½ (2.40).
Said the winner, “I like the game of passing heights, it makes me angry and that makes me jump better. That’s why I passed here again after one failure at 2.35. At 2.40 my jumps were not so good, but I just wanted to test myself at that height.”
Said Tamberi, “It was an amazing competition, I expected a great competition but this guy made it so high-level. It was like a boxing match.”
Medals: 1. Maksim Nedasekau (Belarus) 7-9¼ (2.37) PR (WL); 2. Gianmarco Tamberi (Italy) 7-8½ (2.35); 3. Thomas Carmoy (Belgium) 7-5 (2.26).
Men’s Pole Vault
It was just another easy day at the office for Mondo Duplantis, who opened with a typical first-try make at 18-4½ (5.60). After eschewing 18-8¼ (5.70), it was a first-attempt success at 19-¼ (5.80) that put him in the lead, although he had surprising company from Valentin (not brother Renaud, who watched from the stands) Lavillenie, who equaled his PR and not surprising company from local favorite Piotr Lisek.
At 19-2¼ (5.85) it was another single-try success for the Swede as the other two departed. Up the bar went to a meet record 19-10¼ (6.05), which required a pair of efforts as a prelude to what would have been both an indoor and absolute World Record, 20-3¾ (6.19). Of his three attempts, the second was the best as he nicked the bar on the way down.
Still only 21, and with 17 meets with 6-meter clearances under his belt, he said, “Jumping 6m is still something special. Every time I jump it, it is a really good feeling, but it becomes a little bit easier. But 6m is still high. I don’t know the number of 6m jumps I have. I still had the count when I had 2 of them. But then last season I jumped it so many times, that I lost count.”
Medals: 1. Mondo Duplantis (Sweden) 19-10¼ (6.05) (MR); 2. Valentin Lavillenie (France) 19-¼ (5.80) =PR 3. Piotr Lisek (Poland) 19-¼ (5.80).
Men’s Triple Jump
Now representing countries far from their native Cuba, former teammates Pedro Pablo Pichardo (Portugal) and Alexis Copello (Azerbaijan) scored a 1–2. Pichardo salted the win away early, opening at 56-9¼ (17.30), just 6cm off his indoor PR set earlier in the year.
But the 27-year-old wasn’t thrilled with his performance, saying, “My first jump wasn’t great and that’s why I didn’t look too happy about it, despite it being enough to get a win. I can jump farther, and that’s always my goal — to be the best I can be.”
Copello and Max Heß of Germany staged a good battle for the silver as both were in a podium position from the get-go. Heß had led Copello after the first round, 55-7¾ (16.96) to 54-¾ (16.68), but in round 2 first jumper Copello slipped 2cm ahead with his 55-8½ (16.96). Heß then rang up four straight fouls and Copello three. In the final round the German went 3cm up on Copello with a seasonal best 55-9¾ (17.01).Copello responded nicely, however, adding 3cm of his own to take the runner-up spot at 55-11 (17.04).
Medals: 1. Pedro Pablo Pichardo (Portugal) 56-9¼ (17.30); 2. Alexis Copello (Azerbaijan) 55-11 (17.04); 3. Max Heß (Germany) 55-9¾ (17.01).
He might be the decathlon’s World Record holder, but Kevin Mayer hasn’t spent a lot of time on podiums the last while, so he was thrilled when his year-leading 6392 propelled him to the top step of the 7-eventer here.
“It is really a great feeling,” said the 29-year-old Frenchman. “Not because of the medal, but because of my feeling during those two days. Since the World Indoor Championships in 2018 I have not medaled. So it is really a pleasure for me. I am really confident now.”
He was in 2nd after the 60 (6.86) and 2nd after the long jump (24-6 ¼/7.47) and shot (an indoor PR 53-6½/16.32). He closed the first day in the lead after high jumping 6-8¼ (2.04).
He was in the lead to stay, starting the second day with the best flight of hurdles (7.78) and equal-highest vault (17-¾/5.20) before coming home in a workman-like 2:45.72 kilo. “I am not really training for the 1000m anymore,” he said, “because we have focused on speed training. Because I want to be good in 9 events and not only in one. The 1000m is always so stressful.”
Medals: 1. Kevin Mayer (France) 6392 (WL) (6.86, 24-6¼/7.47, 53-6½/16.32, 6-8¼/2.04 , 7.78, 17-¾/5.20, 2:45.72 ); 2. Jorge Ureña (Spain) 6158; 3. Paweł Wiesiołek (Poland) 6133 PR. □