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Euro U23 gets underway in Erfurt

Aleksey Sysoyev
(Foto: Gantenberg)
[14.07.2005] The first morning of competition at the European Athletics Under 23 Championships in Erfurt included no event final, although the two combined events both saw activity which will continue onward to a Friday conclusion.

After three events in the men's decathlon, Mattias Cerlati (FRA) has 2540 points and holds a scant two point lead over Norman Müller (GER) at 2538. Two of the favourites in the two day, ten discipline event, Russians Aleksey Drozdov and Aleksey Sysoyev, are respectively only 23 and 45 points behind Cerlati.

Cerlati pulled himself up smartly after an eighth place result in the opening event, the 100m. His 11.11 was considerably behind the 10.82 of Christopher Hallmann (GER), who led all competitors. But with third best marks of 7.48m (PB) in the long jump and 14.75m in the shot put, the French athlete was able to squeak to a narrow lead after three events.

Early leader Hallmann - who placed fifth two years ago in Bydgoszcz - faded badly after problems in the long jump (6.52m on his final and only legal jump) to rest in 13th as his medal hopes faded.

Meanwhile, European Indoor sixth placer Drozdov stayed within attack range of the overall lead with an outdoor PB in the 100m (11.18) and 7.29m in the long jump, adding a near-outdoor PB of 15.38m in the shot put.

Sysoyev, the Silver medallist at last year's IAAF World Junior Championships, used a 15.45m shot put mark - the day's best - to lift himself from his eighth place total after two events to his present fourth position.

The high jump and 400m, held later today, will complete the first day's decathlon activity.

The women's heptathlon saw Laurien Hoos (NED) burst into the lead from the outset. The Dutch athlete - who placed seventh in Bydgoszcz two years ago- equaled her PB to lead the 100m hurdles (13.53) and was third in the high jump (1.77) before exploding with the day's top shot put (15.03 - 1.35m ahead of the nearest competitor) for a three event total of 2850.

Trailing Hoos by 150 points at 2700 is Lilli Schwarzkopf (GER), with PBs in both the 100m hurdles (13.72) and the shot put (13.21). The top high jump of the day came from Viktorija ˇemaityte (LTU) with 1.83m, as she currently rests in fourth place with 2638. She is part of a tight four woman pack which also includes Sara Aerts (BEL) with 2649, Olga Levenkova (RUS) at 2636, and Hoos' teammate, Jolanda Keizer, with 2632.

The day's final event in the heptathlon, the 200m, is scheduled for the evening session.

The remainder of the first day's program involved qualifying rounds.

The men's 400m qualification produced few surprises. Robert Tobin (GBR) - whose season and PB of 45.01 leads the field by almost one full second - posted the best time in the four heats with a relaxed 45.98.

Also qualifying with a superb run was Konstantin Svechkar (RUS) with a PB of 46.19, just ahead of the reigning European Indoor Champion, David Gillick (IRL), with 46.25 in the same heat.

Poland advanced all three of its entrants - Piotr Zrada (season best 46.57), Piotr Kedzia (46.67) and Daniel Dabrowski (46.67) - while Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium each moved two runners ahead to the final.

The only competitor with a time in the European Under 23 season top ten not to advance to Friday's semifinals was Myhaylo Knysh (UKR), who was eliminated after a sixth place heat time of 47.18.

Robert Harting (GER) led all qualifiers in the Men's Discus with his single throw of 61.74m, which easily surpassed the automatic qualifying mark of 57.50m. The German had a margin of almost four metres ahead of the next qualifiers, 2003 fourth placer Daniel Vanek (SVK) with 57.91 and Vadim Hranovschi (MDA) at 57.83. Bydgoszcz Silver medallist, Dmitriy Sivakov (BLR), also easily made the top twelve with 57.14.

As in the 400m, Poland continued to show their strength by placing three into the discus final - Michal Hodun (56.69), Konrad Szuster (54.88), and Piotr Malachowski (54.05)

A potential medallist fell out of the discus competition as Märt Israel (EST) - a finalist two years ago in Bydgoszcz and third on this season's U23 list at 63.17 - eliminated himself with three fouls.

The women's hammer saw all of the top ranked competitors advance. The season list leader among those competing in Erfurt - Yekaterina Khoroshikh (RUS) - had the top throw with 68.76m. In all, eight of the twelve finalists bettered the automatic qualifying limit of 64.50m. Other top marks came from Nataliya Zolotuhina (UKR) with 66.70, Éva Orbįn (HUN) at 65.71 and Betty Heidler (GER), the Olympic fourth placer, with 65.62.