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Kaczmarek and Adeleke enjoy record-breaking 400m battle

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Published in Athletics
Monday, 10 June 2024 16:30
Polish and Irish records fall in the womens one-lap race at the European Championships in Rome

Natalia Kaczmarek and Rhasidat Adeleke pushed each other to the limit in a pulsating womens 400m on Monday (June 10) in Rome.

With 48.98, Kaczmarek took half a second off her PB as she beat Irena Szewinskas 48-year-old Polish record of 49.28.

Close behind, Adeleke improved her Irish record to 49.07 as they combined to produce a memorable European final.

The performances also place them 15th and 17th on the world all-time rankings. Whats more, theyre the fastest times by European women this century and the quickest since Marie-Jose Perecs 48.25 in 1996.

Natalia Kaczmarek (Getty)

Coming to the start, I was dreaming about the Polish record but this 48.98 was something more than my imagination, said Kaczmarek.

The 26-year-old from Poland won the 2019 European under-23 title and has improved relentlessly in recent seasons, winning mixed relay gold at the Tokyo Olympics and world 400m silver in Budapest last year.

Kaczmarek, whose partner is 22.25m shot putter Konrad Bukowiecki, has moved to a new level this year and she now looks like a genuine Olympic gold medal contender.

For Adeleke, this was her second medal of the week as she was part of the Irish quartet who won mixed relay gold.

Rhasidat Adeleke (Getty)

I just wanted to make sure I always kept myself in contention, get to 200m, then make my move, said Adeleke, who is from Dublin but trains in Texas alongside Dina Asher-Smith. It was really good. I would have loved the gold, but I could have not made the final, theres so many things that could have gone wrong.

But Im just grateful to be here, Ill take my blessing and hopefully one day Ill be able to get my gold.

Behind the duelling top two, Lieke Klaver of the Netherlands claimed bronze in 50.08.

Britains Laviai Nielsen had run a PB of 50.73 in the rounds but finished sixth in the final in another PB of 50.71.

Nielsen, whose coach Tony Lester is recovering from a recent heart attack, said: I was happy with that. Maybe I was a bit fazed by the race that was going on around me, so I had to claw it back it and push on in the home straight, but I am happy to come away with another PB.

For more Euro Champs coverage from Rome, click here

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