BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Olympic heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam won the European indoor pentathlon title in dominant fashion on Friday.
The Belgian athlete got a personal-best 4,870 points, topping the standings in the high jump, shot put and 60-meter hurdles, as she beat Austria’s Ivona Dadic (4,767) and Hungarian Gyorgyi Zsivoczky-Farkas (4,723).
The opening day of the championships was marred by what seemed an unusually sensitive system for detecting false starts.
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The system twice flagged up false starts in the women’s 60-meter hurdles final. None of the athletes was found to be at fault in one case, and in the other a runner was disqualified – then swiftly reinstated on appeal. That followed a bizarre heat Friday morning in which four of seven athletes were disqualified.
Cindy Roleder of Germany eventually took the title in 7.88 seconds, with Alina Talay of Belarus second in 7.92, and bronze for another German with Pamela Dutkiewicz clocking 7.95. World record holder Susanna Kallur finished eighth in her last race before retirement.
Britain’s Andy Pozzi won the men’s 60 hurdles in 7.51, while France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde appeared to injure his leg when dipping for the line to win silver in 7.52. Czech Petr Svoboda took bronze in 7.53
Olympic shot put bronze medalist Anita Marton of Hungary easily retained her European indoor title with a throw of 19.28 meters, the best in the world this season.
Marton had five throws superior to the 18.36 managed by Bulgaria’s Radoslava Mavrodieva for silver, with Belarusian Yulia Leontyuk secured the bronze medal with 18.32.
In the men’s pole vault, world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie’s absence with a hamstring injury left the way open for Poland’s Piotr Lisek to win his first gold medal at a major championships.
All three athletes on the podium jumped 5.85, but Lisek won because he had the fewest missed attempts at earlier heights. The silver went to Konstantinos Filippidis of Greece, with bronze for Pole Pawel Wojciechowski.
Only one Russian athlete, long jumper Darya Klishina, is competing at the championships because of the ongoing suspension of the Russian national team due to widespread doping.