Cal's Mykolas Alekna Settles For Bronze at Euro Championships

The world-recodholder remains a top contender to capture gold in the discus at the Paris Olympics
Mykolas Alekna
Mykolas Alekna /

Mykolas Alekna’s unblemished season met with its first defeat on Friday.

The 21-year-old Cal junior and world-recordholder in the men’s discus,  finished third at the European Championships at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.

A year after winning gold at the European Championships, the Lithuanian takes home a bronze medal.

Alekna, who took a year off college competition to prepare for this summer’s Paris Olympics, delivered a best throw of 221 feet, 5 inches (67.48 meters) — more than 22 feet of his world-record mark.

Kristjan Ceh, the 2022 world champion, won Slovenia’s first-ever European title with a throw of 223-4 (68.08). Austria’s Lukas Weisshaidinger, bronze medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, finished second at 222-1 (67.70).

Sweden’s Daniel Stahl, Olympic gold medalist in Tokyo, wound up fourth at 219-3 (66.84).

Alekna threw virtually just as far during the morning qualifying, when he advanced easily with a single toss of 221-5 (67.50). In the finals, four of his six throws were fouls.

The winner of three Diamond League competitions this season, Alekna broke the 39-year-old world record in the discus with a massive heave of 243-11 (74.35) at Ramona, Oklahoma on April 14. He topped 70 meters in three of his five previous meets this season.

Former Cal middle-distance runner Georgia Bell, 30, of Great Britain, continued her strong season by qualifying for the Sunday final in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:12.01.

Bell, who stepped away from the sport after her days at Cal before returning last year, finished eighth at the Prefontaine Classic last month with a personal-best time of 4:00.41 that was 21st-best in the world this year and third among European runners entering this week. 

Meanwhile, Cal rising senior Caisa-Marie Lindfors of Sweden qualified into the Saturday final of the women’s discus with a throw of 200-10 (61.22). 

Incoming freshman Lucija Leko of Croatia failed to qualify in the discus but delivered a personal-best effort of 186-11 (56.97). She also competed in the shot put qualifying, throwing 51-2 3/4 (15.61) and failing to advance.


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Jeff Faraudo

JEFF FARAUDO

Jeff Faraudo was a sports writer for Bay Area daily newspapers since he was 17 years old, and was the Oakland Tribune's Cal beat writer for 24 years. He covered eight Final Fours, four NBA Finals and four Summer Olympics.