Italy 'dominate' European Athletic Championships ahead of Olympics

Italy won their first ever European title in the men's 4x100

 ROME – Italy emerged victorious at the top of the medal table for the European Athletic Championships which were held at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, with 11 gold medals.

 Italy claimed 24 medals in total, 11 of which were gold, nine silver and four bronze. Second place France trailed behind with four gold medals and 16 in total.

 The golds came in a variety of disciplines. Continuing from the success of the Tokyo Olympics, Marcell Jacobs won the 100 metres and was part of the 4x100m relay team of Matteo Melluzzo, Marcell Jacobs, Lorenzo Patta and Fillipo Tortu that added another gold medal to their names in Rome in a time of 37.82 seconds. This was Italy’s first ever European title in the 4x100 race.

 High jumper Gianmarco Tamberi, who is also the current Olympic champion, defended his European title by clearing 2.37 metres. He drew concern after clearing the bar as he walked away from the mat limping and then fell over, however he pulled a spring out of his shoe, revealing he was faking the injury. President Sergio Mattarella broke presidential protocol to congratulate Tamberi with an embrace.

 Another defending Olympic champion, Antonella Palmisano, proved herself ready for Paris by winning the 20 km walk in 1:28:08, a title which she had not previously won at the European Championships.

 New faces emerged on the scene to claim European gold. Lorenzo Simonelli won the 110m hurdles, breaking the Italian national record by running a time of 13.05 seconds. In the longer distance races, Italy also saw various success. Nadia Battocletti also won her first European Championship titles, winning both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres breaking the championship record and the national record respectively.

 Yemaneberhan Crippa emerged victorious in the half marathon, having previously won the 10,000 metres at the European Championships in Berlin, making up part of the Italian men’s team that also won gold in the team half marathon.

 In field events, Italian brilliance also shone through. In the shotput, Leonardo Fabbri won with a championship record distance of 22.45 metres and Sara Fantini won gold in the hammer throw with a distance of 74.18 metres.

 Nine silver medals were awarded to Italian athletes. Chituru Ali placed second in the 100m and Filippo Tortu came second in the 200m. In the 4x400 metres relay both the men’s team consisting of Luca Sito, Vladimir Aceti, Riccardo Meli, Edoardo Scotti and the mixed team of Luca Sito, Anna Polinari, Edoardo Scotti, Alice Mangione claimed the silver medal. In the 400m hurdles, Alessandro Sibilio set a new national record in a time of 47.50 seconds to come in second behind Norway.

 In the half marathon, Pietro Riva completed the Italian one-two, running the race in 1:01:04, one second slower than fellow Italian Crippa. Another Italian one-two followed in the women’s 20 km walk, with Valentina Trapletti placing second with a personal best. In the field events, Italy achieved silver in both the men’s and women’s long jump with athletes Mattia Furlani and Larissa Iapichino placing second respectively. Furlani broke the under 20 world record with a jump of 8.38 metres.

 Italian athletes also claimed four bronze medals on home turf with Zaynab Dosso coming third in the women’s 100 metres, Catalin Tecuceanu third in the men’s 800 metres, Pietro Arese achieving bronze in the men’s 1500 metres and Francesco Fortunato in the men’s 20 km walk.

 Speaking on Thursday at the flag ceremony before the Paris Olympics, President Sergio Mattarella congratulated the athletes for their success at the European Championships and said he hoped that the “wish for a busload of medal winning athletes will come true.” Tamberi and Arianna Errigo, a champion fencer, were chosen as the Italian flag bearers for the opening ceremony.

President Mattarella congratulates high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi