Kristjan Čeh creates history with European gold – AW

    Slovenian overcomes top-class discus field in Rome, while Jessica Schilder lands second shot put title

    Kristjan Čeh became the first ever Slovenian man to win gold at the European Championships when he clinched the discus title at the Olympic stadium in Rome on Friday (June 7).

    In a final that featured many of the world’s very best throwers, the 2022 world champion overcame Austrian Olympic bronze medallist Lukas Weisshaidinger and current world record-holder Mykolas Alekna to create his own piece of history.

    Čeh had started as he meant to go on, going into an early lead with his opening throw of 66.59m as defending champion and event favourite Alekna fouled his first attempt.

    The Lithuanian, who threw 74.35m in America earlier this year, responded by reaching 66.98m with his next effort but Čeh’s comeback proved to be a knockout blow, his throw of 68.08m proving too much for all of his rivals.

    Alekna did manage 67.48m with his fourth attempt, but that was overtaken by Weisshaidinger’s 67.70m in round five. Reigning world and Olympic champion Daniel Stahl had to settle for fourth with 66.84, while British record-holder Lawrence Okoye, bronze medallist at these championships in 2022, made it into the final eight but his best of 63.48m meant he finished in eighth position.

    “I finally got my self-confidence back and I think I will be in even better shape in Paris,” said Čeh. “Everybody was talking about Alekna so, of course, he is the man to beat – he is the world record-holder so everybody wants to beat him. I think it is going to be something big in Paris.”

    Jessica Schilder and Jorinde Van Klinken (Getty)

    Another thrower to waste little time in securing a gold medal was Jessica Schilder, the Dutch athlete’s opening effort of 18.77m allowing her to successfully defend her women’s shot put title. Her compatriot Jorinde Van Klinken landed silver with 18.67m, while Germany’s Yemisi Ogunleye took bronze thanks to a fifth-round 18.62m.

    In the men’s shot put, Leonardo Fabbri took just one throw to qualify for the final, the world silver medallist delighting the Italian fans with his effort of 21.10m.Norway’s Marcus Thomsen and Croatian Filip Mihajlevic got closest, both reaching out to 20.69m, while Britain’s Scott Lincoln was sixth furthest overall and progressed with 20.31m.

    Defending champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh was one of six athletes to clear 1.92m in qualifying for the women’s high jump final, while British champion Morgan Lake also progressed with a clearance of 1.89m.

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