It rains in Istanbul, and the melancholy of the rain increases the beauty of the city, and not a cat is seen on the street, and from afar, on the overheated Ataköy track, it seems that Esther Guerrero is crying. Seconds have passed since the 1,500m final. The favorite, the Scottish Laura Muir (4m 3.40s), has won. She has finished fourth with the best time of her life on the indoor track (4m 4.86s). Maybe that’s why she cries. The fourth duel? “Not to me,” replies the 33-year-old middle-distance runner from Banyoles, who, in reality, did not cry, but rather laughed, unable not to enjoy the moment. “The thorn remains of having had the podium close. Being out of athletics, as I have been, injured for a year, you value memories more, and you know that the memory of a podium defines the curriculum of an athlete, and I wish I could have that memory, but I missed it more, I remembered with more sense of loss, moments of competitive pressure, of feeling like an athlete. And I have once again felt competitive here, playing a final and fighting until the end for victory”.
The injury, his overcoming, has made Guerrero wiser, who has worked 24 hours a day to return to being, and who has discovered, he says, that he can now be without thinking about what others think, but about himself, in running following her feet, without paying attention to the pace times, as she does in the final, which comes out very fast and she takes the lead, third, and fights to maintain her position, and fights to win on the inside. When Muir, with 700m remaining, as expected, launches her attack, she overtakes the Polish Ennaoui on the inside, and marches third, straight to the podium, and ready to overtake the second, the Romanian Bobocea, but the diminutive Pole recovers, passes it and fools around, silver, walks away. The Segovian Águeda Marqués finished seventh, who also drilled a personal best on the indoor track (4m 8.76s), and shared her joy with her boy, the Galician Adrián Ben, the only Spaniard who qualified, and exceeding in a semifinal that he won and famous doing a double Mbappé, hands in armpits, phone call, for the 800m final (18.22). Less exuberant, calmer, Lorea Ibarzabal celebrated her pass to the women’s final of the same distance (18.35).
Melancholy is not a matter for Óscar Husillos, who blames himself, his bad head – “I have not been able to manage the championship”, he says – for having finished fourth in the 400m final in which he was defending the title. Due to his bad head, for having run badly in the first series, on Friday morning, the Astudillo Express entered a drift of bad streets that led him to street two, a hell in which a sprinter enters more than 34 per hour and derails if it does not brake, in the final.
Husillos achieves his first objective, entering the free lane ahead of the Czech from lane three, Matel Krsek, but he cannot advance any further, confronted with the wall of the Belgian Julien Watrin, impassable inside and out. The race, he says, is run at “suicidal” speed, launched by the kamikaze rhythm from the wide lane six by the extraordinary Norwegian Karsten Warholm, the world record holder in the 400m hurdles who in winter removes his carbon by disputing some 400m sprints, and he doesn’t know how not to run at full speed, without a calculator, without thinking that lactic acid is a waste of burning energy that only paralyzes others. KW just wants to get below 45s and he passes the 200m in 20.84s, and he just got and stumbling, and the lactic acid goes up and burns him, like everyone else, and it seizes him, and takes him away from the 45s barrier, and the same Belgian with whom Husillos could not, the same one that in the semifinal deprived him of victory and a better fairway, pounced on him, and almost missed him. Warholm wins his second European indoor track with 45.35s, nine hundredths less than Watrin, who the day after doing it for the first time breaks the Belgian record again.
The inevitable Belgian, and some of the Borlee brothers of a lifetime, will meet again on Sunday (5:25 p.m.) in the final of the 4×400 relay. With the absence of Manuel Guijarro and Iñaki Cañal due to injury, the Spanish team, which arrived as favourites, will have to turn to two young men without complexes and wanting to conquer the world, Markel Fernández, a 20-year-old from Vizcaya from Sopela, and Extremadura born in Alcorcón in 2005 David García, European champion under 18 of 400m. The fourth man will be the Toledo expert Lucas Búa. “We’re going to play a great role, I’m sure,” says Husillos as he whistles as he watches on television how the Dutch Femke Bol, “an alien,” he says, admiringly, wins the 400m with spectacular 49.84s, and runs like someone He goes out to roll around the Retiro, or so it seems. “The kids are very focused and eager to measure themselves against the older ones, and we already know what they are capable of”.
With one day to go, 17 countries have won at least one medal –Italy leads the medal table, with four, after the double in the 60m of the surprising Samuele Ceccarelli (6.48s), gold, and the Olympic champion touched Marcell Jacobs ( 6.50s), silver–, and Spain, which arrived in Istanbul with one of the smallest teams in recent years, is not among them. The chances of entering the medal table, and of improving the 11th place in the table of finalists (three fourth places, two sevenths, one eighth), in which Italy also leads, are ample on Sunday, starting with the relay. At 8.00 and 19.05, the semifinals and the final of the 60m hurdles, which the Valencian Quique Llopis arrives with the second best time. At 8.12, Jaime airlines Guerra disputes the longitude final in which perhaps only gold (the world, Olympic and European champion, the Greek Miltiadis Tentoglou participates) is out of his reach. At 6:00 p.m., Adel Mechaal assaulted the impossible Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the 3,000m, at 6:22 p.m., the 800m final, more open than ever, with Adrián Ben, and at 6:35 p.m., the women’s, with Ibarzabal, who in the semifinals, With 2m 1.3s, she was close to three tenths of her best mark, in the territory of the untouchable Keely Hodgkinson, the British woman who easily falls below two minutes. Of the 37 European Championships held indoors, only nine, and the last one was 39 years ago, Gothenburg 1984, Spain came out without medals.
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