Mayer breaks European heptathlon record!
06.03.2017, 10:12h

Six months after surpassing himself with Olympic silver in Rio, France’s Kevin Mayer earned his first major international gold in crushing fashion as he broke Roman Sebrle’s 13-year-old European indoor heptathlon record.

By the time he reached the concluding event of the 1000m, Mayer’s first European indoor title – following his silver in 2013 – was virtually guaranteed by a 224 points lead over his nearest challenger, and fourth place was enough to take his final total to 5479 points, bettering the mark of 6438 set by the Czech Republic athlete at the 2004 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

But the main drama of this concluding event involved Serbia’s Mihail Dudas, who started the 1000m just one place and 52 points off a medal place, but who seemed on the brink of adding a home bronze to the gold already secured by Ivana Spanovic as he responded to the thunderous support in the packed Kombank Arena.

Arriving on the home straight in third position, he stepped exhaustedly onto the infield, corrected himself, but then staggered again before stumbling headlong to the track as the field flew past him. Having picked himself up and limped to the line, he sank his head once again to the track.

Dudas, an outdoor European bronze medallist last year, briefly figured in fifth position overall before being correctly but brutally disqualified for stepping off the track. As he completed a weary lap of honour with the rest of the field, he was clearly struggling once again with his emotions.

Silver went to Jorge Urena of Spain, with 6227 points, and bronze to the Czech Republic’s Adam Helcelet, who scored 6110.

Poland finished top of the medals table, just as they had at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam last summer.

Victories in the concluding women’s and men’s 4x400m relays shifted Poland above Britain by 12 medals to 10, and by seven golds to five.

The Polish men won in in 3:06.99 ahead of Belgium (3:07.80) and the Czech Republic –for whom individual champion Pavel Maslak started the last leg in fifth place - in 3:08.60.

Adam Kszczot confirmed his status as a championship performer to match the home poster girl Spanovic as he secured his third European indoor 800m title in masterful fashion.

By the time he reached the bell the 26-year-old Pole, who also has two outdoor European titles, was in full command – even if the bulk of spectators were concentrating their attention on Spanovic’s enormous third round long jump.

Kszczot won as he pleased in 1:48.87, with Denmark’s Andreas Bube taking silver in 1:49.32 ahead of Spain’s early leader Alvaro De Arriba, who clocked 1:49.68.

Unlike the women’s 3000m, the men’s version was still wide open as the bell went for the final 200m, with Spain’s Adel Mechaal moving past Germany’s long-time leader Richard Ringer, tracked by Henry Ingebrigtsen.

The 26-year-old Norwegian, who has taken successive 1500m gold, silver and bronze at the last three European Championships outdoors, made a move to pass his Spanish opponent on the outside as they rounded the final bend.

But Mechaal held him off to claim gold in 8:00.60 with Ingebrigtsen, who had returned to action here following toe surgery, added silver in 8:00.93 to the bronze he earned two years ago, with Ringer finishing third in 8:01.01.

“This has been my first competition in 200 days so a silver medal is really great,” Ingebrigtsen said.

After setting a 2017 world-leading mark of 17.52m in the previous day’s triple jump qualifying, Germany’s world indoor silver medallist Max Hess had high – or rather long - hopes of gold.

In the end, however, the 20-year-old had to settle for bronze, and a best of 17.12, as gold and silver went to two competitors at the other end of their career.

A best of 17.20m was enough for Portugal’s 2008 Olympic champion Nelson Evora to defend his title at the age of 32. And a best of 17.13m secured silver for Italy’s 40-year-old Fabrizio Donato – eight years after he took gold when this event was held in his native Turin.

Poland’s Sylwester Bednarek, who topped the European high jump lists with 2.33m coming into these Championships, lived up to his position as favourite with a first-time clearance of 2.32.

It was a huge return to the top of the sport for the 27-year-old, who has endured two knee surgeries and another on his knee since winning a surprise world bronze in 2009.

Silver went to Britain’s 2012 outdoor European champion Robbie Grabarz – a first European indoor medal barely more than a month after he had to undergo emergency surgery to remove his appendix. His 2.30m was a season’s best.

Twenty-year-old Pavel Seliverstau of Belarus won his first senior international with third place though a clearance of 2.27m.