Aregawi cruises to European indoor gold in 1,500
GOTEBORG, Sweden -- Abeba Aregawi won the women's 1,500 meters by nearly half a lap at the European indoor championships Saturday, just three months after switching nationality to host country Sweden.
Aregawi, who was fifth in the distance at the London Olympics when competing for her native Ethiopia, finished in 4 minutes, 4.47 seconds. That was nearly 10 seconds ahead of a tight trailing group led by Isabel Macias of Spain. Katarzyna Broniatowska of Poland won bronze.
Aregawi pulled away from the pack halfway through the second lap and steadily widened her lead. She credited the enthusiastic fans of her new country with helping her to the win, saying "the Swedish crowd supported me very well."
Hayle Ibrahimov of Azerbaijan won the men's 3,000 in 7:49.74, a half-second ahead of Spain's Juan Carlos Higuero. Ciaran Olionaird of Ireland took bronze, another 0.14 seconds behind.
"I am very happy to get the gold medal. It is the first for my country in the history of these championships," said Ibrahimov, who faced strong challenges from Higuero and Olionaird in the final laps.
Jimmy Vicaut of France was a nose ahead of Britain's James Dasaolu in the 60 meters, both recording 6.48 seconds. Michael Tumi of Italy was 0.04 seconds behind to win bronze.
Russia's Darya Klishina retained her long jump title, clearing just over 7 meters. Klishina was the only jumper in the finals to clear 7 meters, and she did it on her first jump.
Eloyse Lesueur bettered the French national record three times over six jumps and ended with silver, her longest distance at 6.90.
Erica Jarder of Sweden won bronze with a final jump of 6.71.
Holly Bleasdale of Britain took gold in women's pole vault, beating defending champion Anna Rogowska of Poland in a jump-off. Both missed three regular attempts at 4.72 meters and failed again at the same height in the tiebreaker. The bar was lowered to 4.67, which Rogowska missed but Bleasdale cleared.
"I wanted it so badly and the jump-off was so tiring and really drained my energy, so I'm happy I got the gold," Bleasdale said.
Russian men took gold and silver in the high jump, with Sergey Mudrov clearing 2.35 and Aleksey Dmitrik making 2.33.
The men's triple jump gold went to Italy's Daniele Greco.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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