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Belgium’s Nafi Thiam sets new world record as she takes indoor pentathlon gold
The European Indoor Athletics Championships in Istanbul was the setting for a thrilling pentathlon competition with Nafi Thiam lifting both the world record and gold medal. Fellow Belgian Noor Vidts won bronze.
Belgium’s multi-event sporting star claimed the coveted crown with a record 5,500 points. She narrowly saw off Polish rival Adrianna Sulek, who also broke the previous world record by a point, although she had to settle for silver.
The two heavyweights battled it out for gold on Friday with the final 800m event proving a thriller. Sulek stormed past the line in first place, clocking 2:07.17 and breaking Nataliya Dobrynska’s world record of 5013 points – set at the same arena in Istanbul in 2012.
She held the new record for six brief seconds before Thiam followed in fourth place with her best ever indoor 800m time of 2:13.60 securing the new world record.
The double Olympic, European and double world heptathlon champion is now a triple European indoor title holder. Following her latest triumph, the 28-year-old from Namur said: “Coming here, I felt very confident, I have done a lot of good work and of course, the world record was in my mind.”
She acknowledged that the strong field played a role in her performance over the two-day event, but was happy to see that despite the passing years, she was performing better.
"It's a lot of work and sweat in training. I'm really proud and satisfied. It gives me a lot of confidence for the future," said Thiam.
With the world championships in August the next major competition for the multi-event, she’s nevertheless determined to enjoy her golden moment.
"You have to take advantage of this moment as long as possible. It would be a shame to only enjoy it for one evening and then move on directly to something else."
Belgian Tornados win gold in 4x400m relay
The Belgian Tornados 4X400 team secured the gold medal in 3:05.83 after a masterful performance at the indoor championships on Sunday, reports RTBF.
For Dylan Borlée, Alexander Doom, Kevin Borlée and Julien Watrin, it was their 17th international medal. France took silver and the Netherlands bronze.
The relay win brought Belgium its fourth medal in Istanbul, following Thiam and Vidts pentathlon success and Watrin’s silver in the 400m.
Photo: © Belga/Jasper Jacobs