Euro Champs Women — Hurdles WLs For Bol, Samba-Mayela

Arriving in Rome with a 12.52 PR, Cyrena Samba-Mayela (center) blasted a French Record 12.31 final. (MATTIA OZBOT/GETTY IMAGES FOR EUROPEAN ATHLETICS)

ROME, ITALY, June 07-12 — The hurdlers arguably stole the show in the Rome women’s events with France’s Cyrena Samba-Mayela and the Netherlands’ Femke Bol clocking world-leading 100- and 400 hurdles times of 12.31 and 52.49.

Bol continued to make the super-impressive look rather normal and humdrum thanks to her fluid running as she flowed around the Olympic Stadium track to defend her title over the barriers.

The analytics show the flying Dutchwoman taking the lead between the first and second hurdles and from that point the gap between Bol and her rivals just kept widening with every barrier cleared. Bol eventually came home almost 2 seconds clear of France’s silver medalist Louise Maraval, who PRed with 54.23.

“It’s never easy, you can never take anything for granted, which is why it’s important to stay focused on myself and not think about what’s happening around me,” reflected Bol, who could provide a sports psychology master class on the art of staying focused.

For good measure, Bol also anchored the Netherlands to gold in the 4×4 in 3:22.39 after having taken a bronze in the mixed 4×4 on the opening day.

Unlike Bol, Samba-Mayela had a sluggish start in her final and was under pressure from both Poland’s defending champion Pia Skrzyszowska and Switzerland’s Ditaji Kambundji on her outside. The Frenchwoman only edged in front from the seventh hurdle.

However, in the final 30m, Samba-Mayela was noticeably quicker over the ground and hurdling more crisply than her two main rivals before coming home half-a-meter in front. Her 12.31 clocking advanced her to equal-No. 10 all-time.

“I have never felt so alive, that is amazing, like it is part of a plan,” said the Parisian native who uprooted herself from her home in the French capital last fall and moved to Orlando to train alongside the woman she hopes to usurp, reigning Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn.

“I am so happy to see that everything is functioning. In all my races [in Rome] I learned something. I had some little problems during the season but nothing major to disturb me. Everything is going well and I hope it will keep well until Paris.”

Kambundji finished 2nd in a Euro U23 record of 12.40 while Skrzyszowska took bronze in 12.42, closing further on Grażyna Rabsztyn’s ancient Polish Record and former WR of 12.36 from ’80.

However, another Polish Record and venerable WR at the time did fall in the 400 when ’23 WC silver medalist Natalia Kaczmarek came out on top of a thrilling race with Ireland’s Rhasidat Adeleke, winning in 48.98 to the former Longhorn’s 49.07 NR.

Kaczmarek’s time consigned to history Irena Szewińska’s 49.29 as a NR — a WR when she won the ’76 OG gold.

The most impressive performance in the field came courtesy of Germany’s Malaika Mihambo whose second-round 23-8¼ (7.22) into a 1.4 breeze was the farthest jump in the world since her own 23-11½ (7.30) to win the ’19 world title in Doha.

This jump killed the LJ as a contest and the reigning Olympic champ as well as 2-time WC winner also jumped 23-1¼ (7.04) in the fifth round — plus 23-¾ (7.03) in qualifying.

“This is madness, I have goose bumps,” said Mihambo. “The 7.22 was close to a perfect jump, I hit the board well, but the headwind was disturbing, so the result could have been even better. Before coming here, I knew that I had not yet showed [in competition this year] what I had in my legs; my training results showed that jumps around 7.20 were possible.”

Mihambo now has two European titles to her name, but she has a long way to go to even get close to the seven that belong to Croatian discus icon Sandra Elkasević.

Competing under her married name since the start of the year — having tied the knot with her longtime partner, coach and former NCAA shot put winner Edis Elkasević last December – she has been undefeated at the Euros since ’10.

She opened with 219-11 (67.04) and no one else could get within a meter of that mark in the still and rather humid conditions — 2nd place going to the Netherlands’ 3-time NCAA winner Jorinde van Klinken with 216-6 (65.99).

Nadia Battocletti kept the exuberant home fans very happy with a superb 5K/10K distance double, winning both gold medals in Italian Record times.

On the opening day, Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal pushed the pace in the 5000 and set a searing pace in the hot conditions, with the track temperature still hovering around 80 (27C) despite its being late at night.

Just before the bell, Grøvdal kicked hard and Spain’s Marta García, the Netherlands’ Maureen Koster and Finland’s Nathalie Blomqvist were unable to respond, but Battocletti stayed on her shoulder and sprinted clear down the homestraight before crossing the line in 14:35.29.

However, two days later, and 14 years after her first appearance at the Euros, Grøvdal finally struck gold when she took the half-marathon title in 1:08:09.

Grøvdal then, unsurprisingly, gave the 10K a miss which left Battocletti as the favorite and it was a role she fulfilled admirably. Keeping the tempo high for much of the race, with around 500m left Battocletti pulled away from her remaining two rivals — the Netherlands’ Diane van Es and Great Britain’s Megan Keith, who would take silver and bronze respectively. The winning time for Battocletti was 30:51.32.

Plaudits as well to Belgium’s 2-time OG winner Nafi Thiam, whose heptathlon win with 6848 points, which included an 800 PR, was a meet record and WL. Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the ’23 WC gold medalist, dropped out after three events citing “a small niggle in the right leg.”


100(0.7): 1. Dina Asher-Smith (GB) 10.99; 2. Ewa Swoboda (Pol) 11.03; 3. Zaynab Dosso (Ita) 11.03.

200(0.7): 1. Mujinga Kambundji (Swi) 22.49; 2. Daryll Neita (GB) 22.50; 3. Helene Parisot (Fra) 22.63 PR.

400: 1. Natalia Kaczmarek (Pol) 48.98 NR; 2. Rhasidat Adeleke (Ire) 49.07 NR; 3. Lieke Klaver (Neth) 50.08;

4. Lurdes Gloria Manuel (CzR) 50.52 PR (10, x WJ).

800: 1. Keely Hodgkinson (GB) 1:58.65; 2. Gabriela Gajanová (Svk) 1:58.79; 3. Anais Bourgoin (Fra) 1:59.30.

1500: 1. Ciara Mageean (Ire) 4:04.66; 2. Georgia Bell (GB) 4:05.33; 3. Agathe Guillemot (Fra) 4:05.69.

St: 1. Alice Finot (Fra) 9:16.22; 2. Gesa-Felicitas Krause (Ger) 9:18.06; 3. Elizabeth Bird (GB) 9:18.39.

5000: 1. Nadia Battocletti (Ita) 14:35.29 NR; 2. Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal (Nor) 14:38.62; 3. Marta García (Spa) 14:44.04 NR.

10,000: 1. Battocletti 30:51.32 NR; 2. Diane van Es (Neth) 30:57.24 PR; 3. Megan Keith (GB) 31:04.77.

100H(0.8): 1. Cyrena Samba-Mayela (Fra) 12.31 NR (WL) (=10, x W);

2. Ditaji Kambundji (Swi) 12.40 NR; 3. Pia Skrzyszowska (Pol) 12.42 PR.

400H: 1. Femke Bol (Neth) 52.49 (WL);

2. Louise Maraval (Fra) 54.23 PR; 3. Cathelijn Peeters (Neth) 54.37.

HMar: 1. Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal (Nor) 1:08:09; 2. Joan Chelimo (Rom) 1:08:55; 3. Calli Hauger-Thackery (GB) 1:08:58.

20W: 1. Antonella Palmisano (Ita) 1:28:08; 2. Valentina Trapletti (Ita) 1:28:37 PR; 3. Lyudmyla Olyanovska (Ukr) 1:28:48.

4 x 100: 1. Great Britain 41.91 (Asher-Smith, Henry, Hunt, Neita); 2. France 42.15 (Oliere, Joseph, Parisot, Mingas); 3. Netherlands 42.46 (Visser, van Hunenstijn, Bisschops, Jiya).

4 x 400: 1. Netherlands 3:22.39 (Klaver 50.57, Peeters 50.96, de Witte 50.41, Bol 50.45); 2. Ireland 3:22.71 NR (Becker 52.00, Adeleke 49.36, Healy 51.51, Mawdsley 49.84); 3. Belgium 3:22.95 (Van Den Broeck 51.45, Vervaet 50.49, Bolingo Mbongo 51.09, Ponette 49.92).

Mixed 4 x 400: 1. Ireland 3:09.92 NR (5, 6 W) (O’Donnell 46.09, Adeleke 49.53, Barr 44.90, Mawdsley 49.40); 2. Italy 3:10.69 NR (#6 nation) (Sito 44.75, Polinari 51.10, Scotti 44.78, Mangione 50.06);

3. Netherlands 3:10.73 (Bonevacia 46.10, Klaver 50.74, Klein Ikkink 44.68, Bol 49.21).

Field Events

HJ: 1. Yaroslava Mahuchikh (Ukr) 6-7 (2.01); 2. Angelina Topić (Ser) 6-5½ (1.97); 3. Iryna Gerashchenko (Ukr) 6-4¾ (1.95).

PV: 1. Angelica Moser (Swi) 15-8¼ (4.78) =NR; 2. Katerína Stefanídi (Gre) 15-6¼ (4.73); 3. Molly Caudery (GB) 15-6¼.

LJ: 1. Malaika Mihambo (Ger) 23-8¼ (7.22) (WL) (21-11¾, 23-8¼, f, p, 23-1¼, 21-5½) (6.70, 7.22, f, p, 7.04, 6.54);

2. Larissa Iapichino (Ita) 22-9¼ (6.94); 3. Agate De Sousa (Por) 22-8 (6.91).

TJ: 1. Ana Peleteiro-Compaoré (Spa) 48-8¾ (14.85) (=WL);

2. Tuğba Danişmaz (Tur) 47-9¾ (14.57) NR; 3. Ilionis Guillaume (Fra) 47-4¼ (14.43) PR.

SP: 1. Jessica Schilder (Neth) 61-7 (18.77); 2. Jorinde van Klinken (Neth) 61-3 (18.67); 3. Yemisi Ogunleye (Ger) 61-1¼ (18.62).

DT: 1. Sandra Elkasević (Cro) 219-11 (67.04); 2. Jorinde van Klinken (Neth) 216-6 (65.99); 3. Liliana Cá (Por) 211-8 (64.53).

HT: 1. Sara Fantini (Ita) 243-4 (74.18); 2. Anita Włodarczyk (Pol) 239-3 (72.92); 3. Rose Loga (Fra) 238-5 (72.68) PR.

JT: 1. Victoria Hudson (Aut) 212-0 (64.62); 2. Adriana Vilagoš (Ser) 211-4 (64.42) NR; 3. Marie-Therese Obst (Nor) 208-4 (63.50) PR.

Hept: 1. Nafissatou Thiam (Bel) 6848 (WL) (13.74, 6-4¾/1.95, 49-5/15.06, 24.81, 21-7½/6.59, 173-11/53.00, 2:11.79);

2. Auriana Lazraq-Khlass (Fra) 6635 PR; 3. Noor Vidts (Bel) 6596 PR;… dnf—Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GB).