Nowicki sails into European hammer final, Sutej pulls up

football08 June 2024 11:00| © AFP
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Wojciech Nowicki © Getty Images

Poland's Wojciech Nowicki made short work of qualifying for the men's hammer throw final at the European championships in Rome on Saturday, while Slovenian pole vaulter Tina Sutej suffered an injury scare just seven weeks out from the Paris Olympics.

Nowicki sailed out to 79.00 metres, two metres further than the qualifying standard, but was the sole thrower in his group to go further than that 77m mark.

The 35-year-old Pole, the reigning Olympic champion and five-time world medallist, is bidding for a third successive Euro title after previous successes in Berlin in 2018 and Munich in 2022.

"I am sure that even with my first attempt, it would be enough to qualify for the final. But I was not very satisfied with it so I decided to go into the second attempt and test the circle a bit more for the final," Nowicki said.

"I do not think about the fact that I am defending champion. For me, this was just like a first training and tomorrow, it is just like a second training towards the peak of the season – the Olympic Games.

"I want to be in the best shape in Paris. I am still in training and my shape is developing but I am hoping for at least one really good throw here."

Nowicki added: "I am 35 years old so I have to adapt my body a bit. My head still wants to do it but my body is getting older."

Alongside Nowicki, all the other medallists from both 2018 and 2022 Euro championships also qualified for Sunday's final scheduled for 1911 GMT: Polish teammate Pawel Fajdek, the five-time world champion and 2016 European title winner, Hungary's Bence Halasz and Norwegian Eivind Henriksen.

'OK for Paris' 

Qualification for the women's pole vault saw Sutej, who was fourth in last year's world championships in Budapest, pull up injured in her warm-up.

"A week ago, I had training and a pole hit me in my biceps. I had a slight tear. I was thinking about cancelling this championships for me but then my doctor said 'Yes, you are fine and you can jump'," she said.

"So I was like OK, I can try. But in the warm-up, I realise that the muscle is not functional and it is my top arm so this is a really important one. All the pressure goes to that arm and it just does not work."

All thoughts turned to the Olympic Games, now just 48 days away.

"I think it should be OK for Paris, but right now I need some treatment and rest and we will see. I still do training, just the arms will have a little break. I still can run. But we will see."

Britain's Holly Bradshaw will also be absent from Monday's final, set for 1815 GMT.

The reigning Olympic bronze medallist had three no-marks and misses out on the 12-strong final field.

Her teammate Molly Caudery made no such mistake, and goes through along with world bronze medallist and reigning European champion Wilma Murto of Finland and Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece, seeking a historic third continental title, and Switzerland's Angelica Moser.

Belgium's Nafi Thiam, a two-time Olympic champion as well as defending double European gold medallist and a two-time world title holder, remained in control of the heptathlon after the opening event of the second day of competition.

She managed a best-of in the long jump that left her on 4 991 points overnight, 77 ahead of teammate Noor Vidts, with the javelin and 800m to come in Saturday's evening session.