This is the second piece by Stuart Weir on day one of the 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships, held in Istanbul, Turkey. One could sense a bit of frustration on day one from our fearless senior writer for Europe. 

First impressions

The opening evening, intriguingly called day 0 consisted of round 1 of the 800s, men’s 1500, and women’s 3000 as well as qualifying for men’s triple jump, women’s high jump, and both shots put competitions in two and a half hour program watched by a quite small crowd,

The most positive thing I have to report is that the action was decided on the track and not by officials, with none of those tedious and often baffling DQs for line violations. And thankfully no tangles of legs on the tight bends.

Guy Learmouth, photo by Getty Images for European Athletics

In the women’s 800, defending champion, Keely Hodgkinson was the fastest qualifier with 2:01.67.  At the halfway stage she was on course to go under 2m but with no pressure on her, why to use up energy unnecessarily/  Other heat winners were Izzy Boffey, GBR, (2:03.24), Anita Horvat, Slovenia, (2:03.06), Audrey Werro, Switzerland, (2:05.6) and Agnes Raharolahy, France, (2:04.56).

Fastest in the men’s 800 was Amel Tuka, Bosnia, (1:47.24) with Catalin Tecuceanu, Italy, (1:47.24), Mateusz Borkowski, Poland (1:49.88), Elliott Crestan, Belgium, (1:47.76) and Benjamin Roberts, France, (1:47.97) winning the other prelims.

In the men’s 1500 Azeddine Habz won the first prelim in 3:49.88. Also in that race, 

Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Norway – I am sure I have heard that name before –  sat at the back until the last 300 before moving into a qualifying position and finishing third. The second prelim was much faster with Pietro Arese, Italy,  winning in 3:43.97.  Neil Gourley, GBR,  won in 3:41.08

Qualification for the final of the W3000 was not very demanding with 15 places in the final available for the 23 starters in two semis.  Very early in the first semi, six athletes broke away and were always going to get the six automatic places.  Konstanze Klosterhalfen opened up a 10-meter lead. While the gap was closed, she remained in front to win a comfortable 8:53.5, fully 30 seconds slower than her PR.

The second race was a better race slower but with 10 athletes still in contention beyond 2000m.  The winner was Hanna Klein in 8:59.20.  Can the two German ladies dominate the final as well?

The 2023 European Athletics Indoor Champs, held in Istanbul, Turkey, photo by Getty Images for European Athletics

There were no surprises in the women’s high jump with everyone who cleared 1.91 into the final.

Zane Weir, Italy, won the men’s shot with 21:26 while Jessica Schilder, Netherlands, led the women’s qualifiers with 19.18

The highlight of the night was Pedro Pichardo setting a Portuguese national record of 17:48 to win the triple jump qualifying.



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