Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Can wins long-distance double in Amsterdam


Yasemin Can holds a Turkish flag after her 5,000m final win at the European championships in Amsterdam on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

Kenyan-born teenager Yasemin Can clinched a long-distance double for Turkey at the European Championships on Saturday, dominating the 5,000m with spectacular running from the front, much as she had done during the 10,000m three days earlier.

Can, 19, was only cleared to run for Turkey in March and made the most of the ruling with a devastating kick after 2km — and never letting up — to win in a slow 15 minutes, 18.15 seconds, beating defending champion Meraf Bahta of Sweden by 2.39 seconds.

Can won the 10,000m in much the same style.

She qualified for both Olympic events, but said the daring front-running tactics would change when she faced the best in the world, mostly from her continent of birth.

“I am not going to run alone there. I will follow someone,” Can said.

It was the fourth gold for Turkey at the championships, all won by athletes who were foreign-born.

With Russia not competing because of a doping ban, the medals table was bound to look different, but few would have expected Turkey to do this well, especially after finishing the Euros two years ago with a single bronze.

In the pole vault, Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi wiped the championship record of Yelena Isinbayeva off the books by 1cm, clearing 4.81m when gold was already assured. The Russian is still trying to make it to the Rio games under a special exemption.

Anouk Vetter gave the Netherlands a third gold medal at the championships with victory in the heptathlon.

Vetter dominated the two-day, seven-event competition and won with a national record of 6,626 points, breaking the old mark of heptathlete-turned-sprinter Dafne Schippers. Antoinette Nana Djimou of France was second.

Can was not the only 19-year-old to win on Saturday. German Max Hess did likewise in the triple jump with a Europe-leading effort of 17.2m. Hess already proved his credentials when he took silver at the world indoors in March.

In the biggest upset of the evening, double Olympic javelin champion Barbora Spotakova failed to successfully defend her European title and finished fifth, well behind winner Tatsiana Khaladovich, who won with a Belarussian record of 66.34m.

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