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Som, Espana and Tomashova win European golds

2006-08-13

Besides the men’s marathon there were three other running events on the final day of the European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg. In a wide open men’s 800 m final Bram Som triumphed. The 26 year-old Dutch won his first big medal in 1:46,56 minutes ahead of David Fiegen (Luxembourg/1:46,59) and the Briton Sam Ellis (1:46,64).  

 
The assumed favourite Dmitrijs Milkevics (Latvia), who had already run sub 1:44 minutes this season, finished fourth. The Latvian Federation tried afterwards to protest against Som and Ellis, but that was correctly rejected by the Jury of Appeal. "This gold medal is like a big breakthrough for me because in past championships I always had difficulties in qualifying,” said Som and added: “In the final I only set my mind on the finish. I am happy that there was a small gap.” Close to the finish Som attacked and just won. With an almost stronger finish Ellis pushed himself forward through a small gap and passed Milkevics.  

 
While Spaniard Jesus Espana won gold in the 5,000 m final clocking 13:44,70 minutes, the  favourite laid on the track. After about 3,700 metres it looked like the Irish Alistair Cragg, who had just increased the pace in the leading position, had twisted his foot. Cragg kept on running but after 150 metres he had to give up. His great chance of becoming European Champion were gone. With an Achilles problem he ended the race. Farah (Great Britain) was now leading and determined the pace.  

 
In the end it was a duel between him and Jesus Espana. The Spaniard attacked in the last curve and passed him, but on the last metres Farah almost overtook him again. The 23 year-old Briton was behind just nine hundredth of a second while Juan Carlos Higuero (Spain/13:46,48) secured third place. „This is a great success for Spain,“ said Espana.  

 
The best performance of the day came from Tatjana Tomashowa. The Russian won the 1,500 in a new championships’ record of 3:56,91 minutes. In this uncommon fast championship race another two runners broke four minutes: Chizhenko, who was leading most of the race, won silver in 3:57,61 minutes and Daniela Yordanova (Bulgaria) prevented a triple success for Russia with her third place, clocking 3:59,37. With a strong finish in the last 40 metres she passed the Russian Yelena Soboleva (4:00,36). "We worked on my speed in preparation and I improved my 400 m time and that helped me a lot in the finish," said Tomashova and added: "This is my first gold in a European Championship and though I am also World Champion, this is special."  

 

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