Yasemin Can gets European long-distance double for Turkey
AMSTERDAM (AP) Kenyan-born teenager Yasemin Can clinched a long-distance double for Turkey at the European Championships on Saturday, dominating the 5,000 meters with spectacular running from the front, much as she had done during the 10,000 three days earlier.
Can, 19, was only cleared to run for Turkey in March and made the most of this with a devastating kick after two kilometers - 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. She had won the 10,000 in much the same style.
Can 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, and all won by athletes who were foreign-born. With Russia not competing because of a doping ban, the medal 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 1 centimeter, clearing 4.81 meters 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.
The Dutch 4x100 relay squad kept 100 champion Schippers in the hunt for a second gold when it qualified for Sunday's final. Schippers skipped the first round of the relays because of a tight hamstring and is still unsure to run Sunday's final. Schippers is a favorite for Olympic gold in the 200 and also stands a good chance in the 100 next month and does not want to endanger her fitness now.
Can was not the only 19-year-old to win Saturday. German Max Hess did likewise in the triple jump with a Europe-leading effort of 17.20 meters. 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 66.34 meters.