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Crippa extends Italian delight with European half-marathon victory

Yemaneberhan Crippa bagged Italy’s sixth gold medal of the European championships when he won the half-marathon. Photo: AFP

Yemaneberhan Crippa bagged Italy’s sixth gold medal of the European championships when he won the half-marathon around the streets of Rome on Sunday in a home 1-2.

The Ethiopian-born runner, who was adopted by an Italian couple at the age of five, timed 1hr 01min 03sec over the 21.1km (13-mile) course for victory.

It was Crippa’s second European gold, the 27-year-old having already won the 10,000m at the 2022 Munich championships.

Teammate Pietro Riva took silver, just a second behind, as three other Italians – Pasquale Selvarolo, Eyob Faniel and Yohanes Chiappinelli – finished in the top 10 to continue the team’s electric form over the opening three days in Rome.

That combined showing also ensured that Italy won the team gold. The host nation now stands top of the medals table with seven golds, five silvers and a bronze in a haul of 13 medals.

Eritrean-born German Amanal Petros, who left his country of birth as a toddler for Ethiopia before arriving in his adopted country as a refugee at the age of 17, took bronze, just 4sec off the pace in a race run in hot, steamy conditions.

Crippa said he had “wanted to confirm the victory in Munich 2022 at all costs, but it wasn’t easy, perhaps due to the weather, perhaps due to the tension, I didn’t feel in my best condition”.

“Before entering the stadium I wasn’t sure I could make it, which is why I tried to stay ahead of everyone. Then, in the stadium, I realised that I could win, even though Pietro Riva came really close,” he said.

Italy atop the medal tables had been an added pressure, Crippa admitted.

“They are definitely a stimulus, but they give you a responsibility, too, because they force you to win,” he said, ruling out a bid at a double over the 10,000m in Rome.

“Now I have two months to prepare for the marathon at the Olympics.”

Grovdal hits gold

The women’s half-marathon was won by Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal, the versatile 33-year-old runner who won silver in Friday’s 5,000m, having already won European bronze medals at the 10,000m in 2016 and the 3000m steeplechase in 2018.

Grovdal, who has also won a female record of nine individual medals at the European Cross Country Championships, clocked 1:08.09 for victory, 14 years after making her European debut.

“My main focus was the 5,000m,” the Norwegian said. “This half marathon was like my second chance but I felt good and I really was going for that gold.

“My plan was just to stay behind and to stay in the pack and maybe to do it inside of the track,” Grovdal added.

“But with 3km to go, I saw that the girls were getting tired so it was good and I could go to the front.

“My shape is good, I saw that already on the 5,000m and I have had very good training too. So now, I have a lot of good training in my body and just have to rest a bit and then prepare for Paris.”

Kenyan-born Romanian Joan Chelimo Melly, just eight days after becoming eligible for the east European country, claimed silver in 1:08.55, with Australia-based Briton Calli Hauger-Thackery taking bronze, just 3sec behind.

The British women took the team gold.

In the Stadio Olimpico, Portugal’s Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo qualified for the final of the men’s triple jump on Tuesday.

He went out to 17.48 metres, 4cm short of the lead by Spain’s Jordan Alejandro Diaz Fortun.

They were the only two jumpers to go past the 17m mark. The championship record belongs to Britain’s world record holder Jonathan Edwards, who won the 1988 Euros in Budapest with 17.99m.

Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev, the 2017 world champion, qualified for the semi-finals of the men’s 200m, to be held in Sunday’s evening session.

Guliyev set the championship record of 19.76sec when winning gold in Berlin in 2018. Britain’s defending champion Zharnel Hughes opted not to compete in Rome.

And Italy team skipper Gianmarco Tamberi, the current defending European champion and world and Olympic gold medallist, sailed through qualifiers in the high jump, a sole clearance at 2.21m sufficing.

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