Finn breaks national record three times to become surprise European champion, while Gherber enjoys hammer success at last
Wilma Murto broke the Finnish record three times on her way to a shock victory in the women’s pole vault competition at the European Championships.
Six years after setting the world junior record, the 24-year-old who had arrived in Munich with a season’s best of 4.60m in finishing sixth at the World Championships remarkably went over 4.75m and 4.80m at the first time of asking before equalling the championships record with a second-time clearance of 4.85m.
That record had been set by Katerina Stefanidi, the defending champion who had to settle for second this time around with a best of 4.75m. Croatian Tina Šutej took bronze with a second-time clearance at the same height.
Murto had made sure of a medal by going over 4.65m at the second attempt but no-one could have foreseen how far she would soar in Germany.
“After the World Championships, I felt like there was so much more to come,” said Murto. “My dreams came true. I knew it had been in me for a long time but I just needed this day to come. This was the strongest experience I have ever had. I was in a bubble until the very end, until the medal was certain. Then I opened up and heard all the crowds cheering for me and the noise at the stadium.
“Then I just jumped and jumped and jumped. This is like a start of a new era for me. I have struggled after my teanage success and now I finally made it to the senior level.”
The British finalists Molly Caudery and Sophie Cook finished seventh (4.55m) and ninth (4.40m), respectively.
In the absence of the injured world record-holder Anna Wlodarczyk the women’s hammer final proved to be a closely contested competition.
Bianca Ghelber, who was sixth in both Tokyo and Eugene, won European gold at her fifth attempt. The Romanian had a solid series, starting with a 72.22m throw which in itself would have been enough to win before improving upon that with a 72.72m.
Even without Wlodarczyk, Poland still won silver through Eva Rozanska, who threw a PB 72.12m in the final round. Sara Fantini of Italy took bronze, also peaking in the last round with a 71.58m as Hanna Skydan, who threw 74.57m in qualifying, could only manage 70.88m for fourth.
In women’s triple jump qualifying earlier in the day, Britain’s Naomi Metzger eased through, leaping fourth-furthest overall with a leap of 14.24m. Germany’s Neele Eckhardt-Noack led the way with 14.53m.
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