Young debutants take Spain to top of European Athletics Championships

Mariano García, winner of the 800m in Munich.DPA via Europa Press (DPA via Europa Press)

There is no one in the world of athletics who would not say that the European Championships in Munich were a phenomenal competition. Stadium, public, great athletes, and the highest level of brands. The Olympic champions who arrived competed as if it were the most important event of the year. Marcell Jacobs (100m, 9.95s), Karsten Warholm (400m hurdles, 47.12s), Jakob Ingebrigtsen (1500m, 3m 32.76s), Mondo Duplantis (pole, 6.06m), Miltiadis Tentoglou (length, 8, 52m), have records championships beaten or equaled. A figure like the Dutch Femke Bol, 22, queen of the championships, won three gold medals in an unusual combination and with magnificent times: 400m sprint (49.44s, best European time of the year), 400m hurdles ( 52.67s, championship record) and leader of the 4X400 relay in his country.

In 30 of the 46 disciplines, the marks of the champions in Munich were better than those of the previous championships, Berlin 2018, but in only four were they better than those of the champions of the recent World Cups. The great powers, like Germany, have understood that in the World Cups, the three dominating blocs – the United States, Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean, Ethiopia and Kenya – leave little room and have decided that their athletes will arrive at their Europeans at their best. and they’ve gone from gray performances in Eugene (a gold and a bronze for the Germans at the World Cups) to sweeping the Olympic stadium in front of their crazed fans because it’s easier to support some athletes who have a chance victory than those who are will fight for crumbs: 16 medals including seven gold.

The German model was followed to perfection by Spain, which after the World Cups resulted in the bronze medals of Mo Katir in the 1,500m and Asier Martínez in the 110m hurdles, and fourth place of Mario García in the 1,500m, shone in Munich. , finishing third on the list, with 10 medals (four gold, three silver and three bronze) and, above all, with the irresistible rise of a new generation: none of the four medalists on the track, the two champions , Asier Martínez (110m hurdles, 22) and Mariano García (800m, 24), the 5,000m runner-up (Mo Katir, 24) and the 1,500m bronze (Mario García, 23) ) is still 25 years old. For the four of them, it was the absolute first European in which they participated. They are talented, they are professionals and they are ambitious. Katir thought only of beating Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the 5,000m, and Mario García even risked the bronze medal in his desperate bid to finish the Norwegian in the 1,500m. His phrase is, if not to win, why am I coming. Asier Martínez, the one with the dizzying climb to Gotha in the world of 110 m hurdles, has already won and also Mariano García, who traveled to Munich with a small plant, symbol that accompanied the gold medal, to plant the garden of champions , and only He feared that the popular reception that awaits him at Fuente el Álamo (Murcia), where he trains, will delay him and hinder his training plans. “You have to keep working, and you have to go to the weight room, the most boring”, laments the Murcian, who will try next week at the Diamant de Bruxelles to obtain the minimum (1m 44.70s) for the World Cup 2023 . Mario García, for his part, he will compete in the 1500m in Lausanne next Friday, and Asier Martínez will also continue to compete.

Italy (11 medals, including three gold, after sad World Cups) followed a similar course, but not France, with athletics in crisis, bad World Cups and not so good Europeans, of which it came out, for the first time since 1982. , without any champions.

The other four individual medals, apart from the two in the team marathons, the gold medals for Álvaro Martín and Miguel Ángel López, the silver for Raquel González and the bronze for Diego García, were obtained in the walking events , the discipline in which Spain sets the tone for the rest of Europe thanks to the three nuclei, Madrid, Cieza and Guadix, in which three enthusiasts, José Antonio Quintana, José Antonio Carrillo and Daniel Garzón, at the forefront of knowledge and of the latest techniques in preparation, they are constantly pushing top walkers and achieving performance for many years.

“The results of the Spanish championship are very positive”, welcomes the national coach, José Peiró. And we haven’t reached the ceiling yet. The best thing about this team was the very high level of competitiveness of all the athletes. We will continue with the policy of always bringing the most competitive team possible”.

Within the quasi-euphoria, one aspect should make Spanish technical managers think, the gap between the results of men and women. The Munich team consisted of 89 athletes, 49 men and 40 women. Eight of the medals were for men, only two for women. More than 40% of men (19) held the position of finalist, and only seven women (17%).

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