Pole vault bronze for Caudery as Moser turns the tables – AW

    Briton misses out on another golden moment at European Championships while Swiss seizes her chance

    It says much about Molly Caudery’s rapid rise that a bronze medal in the women’s pole vault final at the European Championships in Rome could be viewed with a degree of disappointment.

    The Briton went into the championships having jumped higher than any other athlete on the continent but her biggest clearance on Monday night (June 10) was 4.73m, which left her third as former European Indoor champion Angelica Moser took victory with 4.78m – a height that equalled the Swiss national record – while two-time European champion Aikaterini Stefanidi landed silver on countback.

    Expectations had been high for Caudery, who had lost just once all year and captured the world indoor title in Glasgow back in March, but she could not find the flowing form that had taken her to a European leading 4.84m at the end of last month.

    All had looked well when she easily cleared her opening height of 4.58m, three centimetres higher than she managed when finishing seventh at the last edition of these championships, in Munich, two years ago. The early departure of defending champion Wilma Murto at 4.58m also aided Caudery’s cause.

    All wasn’t going entirely to plan, though, the British champion missing her first attempt at 4.68m before going straight over convincingly second time around and that pattern repeating itself at 4.73m.

    All the while, Stefanidi – the former Olympic and world champion – was putting together a blemish-free series, her first error of the evening only arriving at 4.78m.

    By that stage, however, Moser had shot into the lead. The gamble from the Swiss to pass a second attempt at 4.73m paid off when she promptly went clear at the higher height. It turned the tables on her opponents, with both Caudery and Stefanidi passing after one unsuccessful vault at 4.78m.

    Could anyone clear 4.83m? Caudery did go high enough but clipped the bar with her elbow, while it was a task too far for all of the final three and the finishing order would remain unchanged.

    “As much as I probably shouldn’t be, I am a little disappointed,” said Caudery, whose PB this time last year was 4.60m and now sits at 4.86m. “If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be a bronze medallist at the European Championships then I would have been over the moon. [But] I have these new expectations for myself and I think other people do, too.

    “But it’s okay. I should not look down on a bronze medal. The last year, but especially the last six months, things have moved on so quickly and this rise has been crazy. I don’t think 4.73m reflects where I am. My final attempt at 4.83m was actually a great jump and I’m trying to hold on to that and not get down too much. I was slightly unlucky but that’s just the way it goes.”

    Elsewhere in the field, the Italian gold rush continued as Sara Fantini captured the nation’s eighth first-place finish of the championships by winning the women’s hammer. The 2022 European bronze medallist beat three-time Olympic, four-time world and four-time European champion Anita Wlodarcyk, having moved into the lead with a second-round 72.30m before following it up with throws of 72.61m and 74.18m.

    Sara Fantini (Getty)

    The Pole produced a season’s best of 72.92m for silver, while a PB of 72.68m handed bronze to young French thrower Rose Loga. British finalist Anna Purchase was eighth with 69.24m.

    Meanwhile, Sander Skotheim finished day one of the men’s decathlon with a 25-point lead, thanks in no small part to a brilliant high jump performance in which the Norwegian world indoor heptathlon silver medallist produced a leap of 2.17m, nine centimetres higher than any of the rest of the field could manage.

    The event is superbly well poised, with Skotheim sitting on a total of 4566 points, followed by Estonia’s Johannes Erm (4541) and Frenchman Makeson Gletty (4539). Fourth-placed Norwegian Markus Rooth remains in contention on 4456 but, with a home Olympics fast approaching, French world record-holder Kevin Mayer is 336 points off the pace.

    For more Euro Champs coverage from Rome, click here

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