Illustration photo – Czech bowler Tomáš Staněk.
Istanbul – Defending champion Tomáš Staněk advanced to the ball finals at the European Indoor Championships after a difficult qualification. In Istanbul, he saved himself with a last attempt. During it, he sent the ball to a distance of 20.70 meters and, given the starting order, he was immediately assured of advancing. In the end, he made it to the eight-man final as sixth. Jan Friš won the final of the 1500, while Filip Sasínek failed in the same discipline for the first time at the HME. Half-carrier Filip Šnejdr also dropped out in the run-up.
Stanek won a medal at the last three European indoor championships, most recently in Toruń. In the first stage of the competition in Istanbul, he first stepped over, and then scored an attempt 20.09 meters long, which kept him in eighth place for a short time. In the last series, it was all about him. Although the performance of 20.70 is significantly worse than his usual winning attempts from this year's indoor meets, it was enough to advance to the finals.
In an interview with Czech Television, he admitted that after a perfect warm-up, when the ball easily flew past the qualification limit of 21.20 meters, he approached the attempts incorrectly. “I can thank God that with the last attempt, which was terrible, it worked. I told myself that at least I had to throw the twenty and a half and above all not to step on it,” he said. He felt sorry for his fans. “I would like to apologize to everyone on television and at the results for the heart attack. My heart is still pounding a little,” he added.
Some of the co-favorites did not pass the qualification sieve. Michal Haratyk from Poland and Armin Sinančevič from Serbia did not score a single valid attempt. Italian Nick Ponzio and Portuguese Francisco Belo finished below the line. Italian Zane Weir won the qualification with a performance of 21.46.
Of the milers, unlike last year's championship in Toruń, only Friš advanced. He made the most of being included in the last run, the participants of which agreed on a higher pace in view of the slow previous runs. Even sixth place was enough for him to advance, even though only the top three went directly to the finals. But the other three progressed over time and all of them were from Friš's run. The Czech representative improved his season's best to 3:41.57, which marked the third qualifying time.
“It's great and I'm very happy for it. I watched my position, I calculated a little in my head and tried to save a little energy, but that's another story,” he said after the procedure. In the final, he would like to attack to improve the eleventh place from 2021.
In the second run, Sasínek took the pace from the start. However, after the eighth stage, rivals gradually got in front of him, and after a series of collisions, the best Czech miler fell to the tail of the field. He did not get out of it and will not continue to participate in the finals at HME 2017, 2019 and 2021.
“I felt good and I think I didn't do anything wrong tactically in the first two thirds. At the moment when everyone was pushing me, I had a lot of pushes, I even stepped inside once. That really threw me off and the race for me in it's basically over,” the bronze medalist from Belgrade 2017 regretted.
Snejdr started in the opening heat of the 800-meter race and took fourth place. The top two from each of the five heats advanced to the semi-finals and the other two by time. With a time of 1:48.35, Šnejdr stayed on the qualifying spot for some time, but in the end he was second under the line.
“In the end, it wasn't as bad as I thought. That qualifying time (1:47.82 ) wasn't that far, but I don't think it would be possible to run from that start,” he noted.
Indoor ME in athletics in Istanbul:
Starts and qualifications with Czech participation:< /h4>
800 m: 1. Tuka (Bosnia) 1:47.22, …12. Šnejdr (Czech Republic) 1:48.35 – did not advance to the semi-finals.
1500 m: 1. Gourley (Brit.) 3:41.08, …6. Friš 3:41.57 – advanced to the final, 16. Sasínek (both Czech Republic) 3:44.76 – did not advance to the final.
Ball: 1. Weir (It. ) 21.46, …6. Staněk (Czech Republic) 20.70 – advanced to the final.