The people of Belgrade were handed a preview of what is to come during the European Athletics Indoor Championships in March as the country’s sporting heroine Ivana Spanovic broke the national long jump record in the city on Sunday.
Fans packed to watch the special street event in the Serbian capital and Spanovic gave them a performance to remember as she soared to a sensational 7.10m.
The jump, her first of the competition, broke her 7.08m mark which brought Olympic bronze in Rio last month and she is set to become the superstar of the Belgrade 2017 Euro Indoors - which is now only 172 days away.
— Telegraf Sport (@TelegrafSport) September 11, 2016
The Serbian capital is hosting the event in this guise for the first time between 3-5 March and the long jump will be the biggest occasion of the three days for the home crowd because of Spanovic.
She is the defending champion after her victory in Prague 2015 and in July she made it a European golden double in Amsterdam.
Spanovic, who also won the Diamond Race this year, maintained her brilliant form on Sunday with her series of jumps being the record-breaking 7.10m, 6.74m, 6.97m, 7.03m, 6.80m and 6.83m as she beat Great Britain’s Jazmin Sawyers (6.56m) and Sweden´s Erica Jarder (6.21m).
Fans packed the stands by the side of the long jump pit and down the runway as Spanovic treated them to a glorious piece of Serbian athletics history.
In Sapareva Banya on Sunday, there was glory again for Austria’s Andrea Mayr who was crowned Mountain Running world champion for the sixth time.
Mayr, 36, triumphed over the 7.3km course in Bulgaria in 39.04 on a great day for European athletes with Italy’s Valentina Belotti in second (40:47) and France’s Christel Dewalle (41:05) in third.
A brilliant road runner, Mayr is also the national record holder at both the half-marathon and marathon distances and her victory completed an amazing record at this event because since she first won the title in Bursa in 2006, she has taken gold every other year.
Belotti’s performance helped lead Italy’s women to team gold while Turkey’s Ahmet Arslan (1:04:48) landed bronze in the men’s race won by American Joseph Gray (1:02:13).
Germany’s Sarah Kistner (22:47) took the junior girls title from the Czech Republic’s Michaela Stranska (23:51) and Britain’s Bronwen Jenkinson (23:56) with the Czechs lifting the junior team gold.