Yasemin Can of Turkey winning her second European Athletics Championships 10,000m

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

MUNICH, Germany (August 16) — Like a skilled stone mason, Turkey’s Yasemin Can needed only to strike a single blow last night to break open the women’s 10,000m at the 25th European Athletics Championships and take home her second continental title at the distance. 

Can, the former Kenyan with the birth name Vivian Jemutai, ran a 68.3-second lap through the 7600-meter mark to scoot away from rivals Eilish McColgan of Great Britain, Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel and Konstanze Klosterhalfen of Germany and win going away in 30:32.57.  She now has seven European Championships gold medals in both track and cross country.

“All my country was waiting for this medal and they were expecting it from me so I am very glad and happy I managed to get it today,” she said.

Can –whose name is pronounced like “Shawn”– took advantage of the early fast pace set by McColgan who won the Commonwealth 10,000m title just 13 days before.  From the 1200m mark McColgan led the 25-lap race for nearly 15 laps, splitting 5000m in a swift 15:22.25. 

By the 3000m mark (9:17.00) McColgan’s quick pace had narrowed the field to just five women: Can, McColgan, Klosterhalfen, Britain’s Jessica Judd, and Salpeter.

“I went hard after that first 1-K,” McColgan said.  “I was doing 72’s for quite a lot of the race, but there were still four girls hanging on, so there were five of us.”

By the 4000m mark, Judd had fallen back (she would finish tenth and required assistance from medical personnel before leaving the track), and the pack was down to four. Running in second position behind McColgan, Can waited for the 7200m point before surging and neither McColgan, Klosterhalfen nor Salpeter could respond.

Eilish McColgan of Great Britain at the European Athletics Championships 10,000m
Eilish McColgan of Great Britain leads Yasemin Can of Turkey, Konstanze Klosterhalfen of Germany, and Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel at the European Athletics Championships 10,000m in Münich (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

“I tried to break the group to much as I could, but Can was just too strong tonight,” McColgan lamented.

Klosterhalfen dropped well back and would finish fourth in 31:05.21.  McColgan and Salpeter –who won the bronze medal in the marathon at the recent World Athletics Championships in Eugene– ran in lock-step for all but the final lap. 

With about 300 meters to go McColgan lowered her chin, pumped her arms, and began to pull clear from Salpeter down the backstretch.  The move stuck and McColgan won the silver medal in 30:41.05. Exhausted from running in three major championships in the same summer, she was proud of her medal.

“Such a big high [after the Commonwealth Games], emotions, not a lot of sleep so it was tough to get myself up again but I can’t complain,” said McColgan who will make her marathon debut in London on October 2.  “I did a lot of the work and came away with a silver medal.”

With Klosterhalfen so far back, Salpeter finished the race unpressed to collect bronze in 30:46.37, breaking her own national record.

“I am excited for the medal and our national record,” said Salpeter who openly prefers road running to track.  “The recovery from marathon takes a lot of time.”

Also last night, in the first of two rounds of the men’s 1500m Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen went from last place at the 100-meter mark to first at the finish, easily winning heat one in 3:38.48 to advance to the final. 

Other key qualifiers included Spain’s Mario Garcia Romo and Ignacio Fontes, Britain’s Jake Heyward and Neil Gourley, Poland’s Michal Rozmys (who won the second heat in 3:37.36), and Ireland’s Andrew Coscoran.  Luxembourg’s Charles Grethen, who ran 3:34.33 earlier this season and was a medal favorite, only finished seventh in the first heat and did not advance.

“Today was a first test for me and the test result is: very good,” the always confident Ingebrigtsen said.  “It got a bit windy, so I hope tomorrow it will be better (for the 5000m final) and less windy. The Olympic stadium is a beautiful arena. The track is really good and fast.”

Garcia Romo, who ran a full NCAA season this year for the University of Mississippi, looked a little tired in the homestretch of the second heat but managed to finish third in 3:38.04 just a step ahead of Britain’s Gourley.  He said that he would rally for the final on Thursday.

“I made the final and that was the main goal,” Garcia Romo told Race Results Weekly.  “Now I have two days rest.  In comparison, at the World Championships (where he finished fourth) I only had one day.  I think I have time to recover.”

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Middle and long distance action continues on Tuesday at Olympic Stadium with the first round of the women’s 1500m and the men’s steeplechase this morning, and the men’s 5000m (which will be a straight final) tonight.

PHOTO: Yasemin Can of Turkey on her way to winning her second European Athletics Championships 10,000m title at Olympic Stadium in Münich (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

PHOTO: Eilish McColgan of Great Britain leads Yasemin Can of Turkey, Konstanze Klosterhalfen of Germany, and Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel at the European Athletics Championships 10,000m in Münich (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

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