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Czech Republic, Sweden and Netherlands promoted

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Old 25-06-2013, 02:13 PM   #1
TheEd's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
The Czech Republic lead from start to finished and marched into the Super League after emerging as the overall winner at the European Athletics Team Championships 1st League in Dublin, with 351.5 points, on Sunday.

Sweden and the Netherlands will join Czech Republic at the 2014 European Athletics Team Championships Super League to be held in Braunschweig, Germany, after finishing second and third with 311 and 299 points respectively.

At the other end of the spectrum, Bulgaria and Switzerland were relegated to the second league finishing 11th and 12th with 208 and 206 points respectively.

While Czech Republic led from the very start, the real battle was going on for the second and third promotion places where Sweden, Romania and Netherlands were all locked in a topsy-turvy tussle.

As the day progressed, Sweden found their feet and maintained a comfortable lead in the second spot while Netherlands and Romania were left to sort it out till the very end.

A brilliant finish by the Dutch 4x400m relay team 3:10.46 which helped them bag 10 vital points made the difference in the end as Romania were left trailing in the sixth place in 3:11.33. The relay was won by local heroes who finished in 3:08.12 to beat fancied Belgium 3:10.25.

The victory along with a number of other incredible performances over the last two days helped hosts Ireland notch their best ever finish at the European Athletics Team Championships.

The hosts finished seventh with 242 points, behind Portugal (269) and Finland (250.5) who completed the top six. Belgium finished eighth with 236.5 points, while Hungary (225) and Estonia (211) managed to avoid relegation finishing in ninth and 10th place respectively.

"We came to Dublin as strong favorites and all of us are very happy that we ensured that next year we will compete in the top league - the super league. We have been there before and the Czech team has only gotten stronger in the last two years. Next time in Super League we will try to stay there," said a delighted Czech team captain Zuzana Hejnova.

The Czech squad took over from where they left on Saturday. Powered by Pavel Maslak's impressive win in the 200m and Vesel Vatezslav's comfortable win in the men's javelin they were just unstoppable on Sunday.

Maslak, the European 400m champion, both indoors and outdoors, showed why he is among the most exciting runners on the continent today winning the 200m ahead of Jonathan Borlee of Belgium.
Maslak got off to a decent start and gained pace around the bend, but it was still anybody's race. Once on home straight, Maslak's turn of pace was far too hot to handle for his opponents. In the end he trounced the Belgian by a comfortable margin clocking 21.20 and in the process secured full 12 points for the Czech Republic. Borlee's 21.31 helped Belgium gain 11 useful points. Sweden's Nil de Oliveira finished third in 21.31.

Romania can consider themselves unlucky after looking like a team set for promotion through most part of the two-days of the competition. They rode on some sterling individual performances, most notable Angela Morosanu's win over European 100m champion Ivet Lalova of Bulgaria in the women's 200m. Morosanu had a brilliant run 23.48 while Lalova finished almost a meter behind in 23.85. European 400m championMoa Hjelmer finished third in 23.88.

"This result in these conditions, I am pleased. It was really cold but it was most important to get points, so for me the performance doesn't matter now. I'm just happy I could help the Romanian team with maximum points," said Morosanu.

Romania's 4x400m relay girls caused a minor upset when they beat the fancied Czech team but in the end fell short by a point and a half.

The Netherlands had a far from ideal start on Saturday but they more than made up for it registering a string of impressive performances on Sunday. Among them was 19-year-old Jip Vastenburg's stunning upset of European 10,000m champion and favourite Ana-Dulce Felix of Portugal in the women's 5000m race. Vastenburg followed Felix for most of the race but once in final lap, she turned on the pace and romped home in 16:12.88. Bârca Roxana of Romania finished second in 16.13.22 while Felix finished third in 16.15.46. Maureen Koster was equally impressive in her win in the 1500m in 4:22.66.

One of the best performances of the day came from Hungarian hurdler Balazs Baji when he set a stadium record and personal best time of 13.45 to win the men's 110m hurdles ahead of former European indoor champion Gregory Sedoc of the Netherlands who finished second in 13.50. Ireland's Ben Reynolds who won the first heat in 13.71 collected 10 points for the hosts finishing third overall.

"I am really pleased with my performance. It's a personal best and it's always great to your best. It feels better especially because this came in these weather conditions - it was raining, windy and cold," said Blazac.
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