MUNICH: World and Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo added European triple jump gold to his accolades in Munich on Wednesday while Dutchwoman Femke Bol kept her bid for an audacious track double on course.
Cuban-born Pichardo, who has competed for Portugal since 2019, dominated the field with a best of 17.50 meters, Italy’s Andrea Dallavalle claiming silver with 17.04m and France’s Jean-Marc Pontvianne bronze (16.94).
Bol, 22, was also in dominant shape in the women’s 400m, winning in 49.44 seconds ahead of Polish pair Natalia Kaczmarek and Anna Kielbasinska.
A world silver medalist and Olympic bronze medallist in the 400m hurdles, Bol now re-focuses on that race.
But there is no respite for the Dutch runner, with her 400m hurdles semifinal scheduled for 1011 GMT on Thursday and the final a day later at 2000.
She then faces a quick turnaround for the 4x400m relay at 1945 GMT on Saturday for a realistic tilt at triple gold.
In a good night for one-lap favorites, world bronze medalist Matthew Hudson-Smith of Britain retained his title in the men’s 400m in 44.53sec.
Switzerland’s Ricky Petrucciani claimed silver in 45.03sec, with another Briton, Alex Haydock-Wilson, rounding out the podium (45.17).
But there was not such good news for two other defending champions, France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde and Greece’s Aikaterina Stefanidi.
Martinot-Lagarde was denied gold by the slimmest of margins in the 110m hurdles as Spain’s Asier Martinez was handed victory in a photo-finish by just a thousandth of a second, in 13.14sec.
Another Frenchman, Just Kwaou-Mathey, took bronze in 13.33ec, with fancied teammate Sasha Zhoya clipping the final hurdle to hit the track and eventually finish last.
Stefanidi, meanwhile, was denied a hat trick of European pole vault titles by Finland’s Wilma Murto, who hit a rich vein of confidence to match the championship record of 4.85m.
2016 Olympic champion Stefanidi could only manage 4.75m, taking silver on countback from Slovenia’s Tina Sutej.
The women’s hammer throw was won by Romania’s Bianca Ghelber in the almighty absence of four-time champion Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland.
The Polish world record holder has won gold at the last three Olympics as well as four world titles, but had to sit out Munich and the Eugene worlds after being injured while chasing a man who had tried to steal her car.
Ghelber’s best of 72.22m came on her first attempt and was enough to see off Poland’s Ewa Rozanska (72.12m) and Italy’s Sara Fantini (71.58).
Reigning champion Nafi Thiam of Belgium was in pole position after the first day of competition in the heptathlon.
She registered 13.34sec in the 100m hurdles, 1.98m in the high jump, 14.95m in the shot put and 24.64sec in the 200m to leave her with 4,063 points. Compatriot Noor Vidts sits second on 3,849pts.
Thursday sees the heptathletes competing in the long jump, javelin and 800m.