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Drei Blockbuster Momente in Istanbul
Event

Three Goosebumps Moments in Istanbul

At the European Championships in Turkey, the continent's best runners came together to compete on Istanbul's asphalt-grey indoor track. Read about the three thrilling decisions at más.

Words: Agata Strausa
Photos: Diego Menzi

The European Indoor Championships took place in the Turkish capital Istanbul from March 2 to 5. We were there both digitally and live on site. We will not soon forget these running decisions: 

Why is Jakob Ingebrigtsen so tense?

In the men's 1500-meter final, the exceptional runner from Norway had the target on his back. Jakob Ingebrigtsen had won the titles over 1500 meters as well as 3000 meters at the last European Indoor Championships. In Europe, the Olympic and world champion is almost unchallenged. Nevertheless, things were to get exciting for a brief moment in Istanbul.

When the television camera panned over the starting field before the race, the great favorite looked unusually tense. The camera fixed on his face: Jakob took a deep breath, pulled his shoulders up to his ears and dropped them again, exhaled. Was he nervous?

Shortly after the starting signal, the Norwegian took the lead of the field, unusually early. And he pushed the pace. With a move like that from the defending champion, it's clear that he means business. There will be no mercy for the competition. The fastest man of the season will do everything in his power not to let anyone past him. Who would dare?

On the last lap of the race, however, it looked as if Neil Gourley might make the final a bit more exciting. The Brit who was very close to Jakob's heels suddenly swerved into lane two. Neil almost dared to do something cheeky: he looked as if he thought he could beat the big favorite. In the end, however, the matter was decided: Jakob kept up the pace, didn't let Neil get close and ran to his next European Championship title.

The results at a glance:

  1. Jakob Ingebrigtsen 🇳🇴 3:33.95
  2. Neil Gourely 🇬🇧 3:34.23
  3. Azeddine Habz 🇫🇷 3:35.39

Best German: Amos Bartelsmeyer did not get past the heats.

The Rematch: Kick it like Hanna, take it like Koko

In the women's 3000-meter final, German champion Konstanze (Koko) Klosterhalfen was considered the favorite. With a season's best (SB) of 8:34.89 minutes, no other runner in Europe has been as fast as her. However, German silver medalist Hanna Klein was already in second place on the rankings. Would there be an exciting duel in the European Championship final?

Konstanze took the lead after the first 1000 meters and pushed the pace. Hanna jumped on the train. Koko tried to break away, but Hanna and eventually Melissa Courtney-Bryant from Great Britain caught up. As the race progressed, the trio clearly left the field behind. With 400 meters to go, it was only Koko and Hanna who had pulled away and seemed to be running for their lives. What was going through Hanna's head right now? Would she have to let Koko go at some point? 150 meters before the finish, on the back straight, came the decisive move from Hanna. She pumped her arms, drew level with Koko and passed the favorite. Without looking back. Koko was rowing with her head, obviously trying to mobilize the last forces to get out everything that was still in her body to catch up with Hanna. Clearly, it hurt to lose the lead so close to the finish.

But it didn't help: Hanna could no longer be caught up and won the European Championship title. It was a gripping duel for gold. The two showed how good the level has become over the middle and long distances in Europe. And silver medalist Koko also showed how important it is to be able to deal with defeats. "A double victory is pretty cool, even if the disappointment is still a bit predominant right now," she admitted in an interview with leichtathletik.de. An honest statement, but a confident approach.

The results at a glance:

  1. Hanna Klein 🇩🇪 8:35.87
  2. Konstanze Klosterhalfen 🇩🇪 8:36.50
  3. Melissa Courtney-Bryant 🇬🇧 8:41.19

Poetry in motion: Keely Hodgkinson dominates over 800 meters

How could it have gone differently in the final of the women's 800 meters? No runner in Europe currently dominates this distance like Britain's Keely Hodgkinson. The 21-year-old ran superiorly through the preliminary rounds. Self-confident and always composed - as if she had been doing this for years.

It was no different in the European Championship final, when all eyes were on her. Keely took the lead right from the start. No games, no tactics. Instead, Keely set an honest pace and passed the first lap in 58 seconds. Already hardly any other runner could follow. The chasers were trailing behind. Keely is simply outrunning the competition at the moment. Was it a boring final because the result was predictable? Absolutely not! As elegantly and gracefully as the Olympic silver medalist and world champion Keely runs, you could watch her for even longer. Poetry in Motion. In the end, she finished in 1:58.66 minutes - all on her own. She is absolutely world class. Her success in Istanbul, Keely dedicated to her recently deceased coach. "I haven't had time to process it yet," she told BBC. "He believed in me as a 10-year-old."

The results at a glance:

  1. Keely Hodgkinson 🇬🇧 1:58,66
  2. Anita Horvat 🇸🇮 2:00,54
  3. Agnès Raharolahy 🇫🇷 2:00,85

Best German: Majtie Kolberg in 8th place in 2:03.65.

Fighter of the weekend: Sam Parsons

While the women set a sign for running in Germany with gold and silver in the finals of the 3000 meters, there was rather little to see from the German middle and long distance runners. The only final participation was secured by Sam Parsons over 3000 meters. In the sovereign victory of Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway, who won his next title in a new national record, Sam secured a solid 7th place in 7:48,01.

The result was anything but a fairytale ending for him, Sam summed up on Instagram after the race. "Crazy to think it was only a few years ago that just to qualify for these international races was the dream." said the 29-year-old, who trains in the United States. He is ambitious: "The big goals I’ve set for myself this year are all late in the summer." That's when the World Athletics Championships take place in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. It promises to be an exciting reunion with the world's best runners.

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