Norway, Finland and Belarus promote to Super League
A great finish for host Norway at the 1st European Team Championships First League by joining neighbours Finland and Belarus in earning promotion to the Super League at the end of the two-day contest.
First-day leaders Belarus continued their fine run to finish well ahead of the rest with 332 points. Finland mustered 289 points and Norway 279 at the end of the stipulated 40 events. Switzerland and Serbia will have to find their place in the Second League next season after finishing at the bottom of the table. Double Olympic champion Javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen could only finish second behind his famed rival and world champion Tero Pitkamaki but the hosts packed enough punch to seal their place in the 2010 SPAR European Team Championships.
Finn Pitkamaki produced a season-best 86.78 on his second attempt to seal the issue, while Thorkildsen‘s best fell short at 85.04. Norwegian Jaysuma Saidy Ndure ran into a head win of -4.60 m/s wind and still finished with a superb 20.94 to take the men‘s 200m title after winning the 100 m on Saturday. Robbert Jansen of the Netherlands emerged victorious as he passed the bar on 5.50 meters in the men‘s Pole Vault competition. Finland‘s European Champion Jukka Keskisalo produced a strong run to thwart a spirited challenge from Halil Akkas. Keskisalo finished with 8:30.89 to earn a vital 12 points, while Akkas finished with a season-best 8:31.85 to get 11 points for Turkey.
The 23-year-old Dudu Karakaya of Turkey gave a solid performance, improving her personal best by more than a minute. She won the women‘s 5000m in 15:24.86. Olivera Jevtic of Serbia finished with 15:29.12 and narrowly won the sprint with Norway‘s Karoline B. Grovdal on 15:29.82 - a personal best by almost half a minute for the up and coming Norwegian athlete. European indoor champion Eline Berings tripped over the first hurdle to open the race for Nevin Yanit of Turkey who went on to win the race by clocking 13.10. Lisa Urech gave Switzerland 11 points with a personal best of 13.17 and Jelena Jotanovic of Serbia came third with 13.44.
Selim Bayrak of Turkey once again emerged triumphant as he notched a season-best performance in the men‘s 3000m, clocking 8:00.45. The women‘s Long Jump competition was won by Nastassia Mironchyk of the Super League-bound Belarus, with a jump jump of 6.74 metres. Melis Karin Mey of Turkey finished second in 6.57, while Viorica Tigau of Romania secured third place with 6.42. Stine Kufaas of Norway cleared 191, a personal best, earning qualification for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in August. Romania won the women‘s relay in 3:35.18, followed by Hungary with 3:35.55, while the Netherlands came third with 3:36.26. The promotion and relegation places were already decided before the men‘s relay, which Belgium won in 3:07.30, ahead of the Netherlands with 3:07.57 and Hungary in third with 3:08.54.