A dazzling weekend of competition in the capital of Belarus saw Gloria Tocchi of Italy claim gold in the women’s Final of the Junior European Championships as Ukraine’s Vladislav Mishchenko took the men’s title. Tocchi was at it again two day’s later as she lined-up with her teammate Irene Prampolini to win the women’s relay as Russia were victorious in the men’s relay.
20-year-old Gloria Tocchi has had incredible last 12 months, establishing herself as one of the leaders of the Italian team at Senior level whilst continuing to pick up silverware at Junior level. After coming third at the Junior World Championships last year, she has gone from strength to strength and her gold here at the 2014 Junior Europeans is just rewards for her sparkling form.
She began the Junior European Final well, placing 5th in the fence and again 5th in the swim before a perfect ride put her second overall going into the combined event. In the run/shoot, her coolness under pressure at the range made the difference as she clawed back her deficit on Great Britain’s Alice Fitton to win by a margin of just 2 seconds.
Fitton, who had won the 200m freestyle swim with a time of 2:10.78, had to settle for silver. Bronze went to Ukraine’s Anastsyia Spas.
Polish Junior World bronze medallist Anna Maliszewska ended her campaign 4th with Adele Stern of France’s time of 12:49.45 in the combined seeing her finish in the top 5. That push by Stern and the results of Marie Oteiza and Julie Behrami in 10th and 13th places respectively ensured France took the team gold ahead of Lithuania and Great Britain.
In the team relay, Tocchi and Pramolini beat the rest of the field to win another gold for Italy. Russia endedin silver with Great Britain rewarded with another bronze.
In the Men’s event, Vladislav Mishchenko’s blistering time in the combined saw him cross the finish line first to cap off an incredible performance in a topsy-turvy day of competition in Minsk.
His campaign had begun with a 10th place in the fence and the 22nd best time in the pool so few predicted that the young Ukrainian would be challenging for honours after he was 24th overall in the ride. Mishchenko was inspired in teh run/shoot, coming from 15th on the starting grid to win by a single second.
Mishchenko broke the heart of the host nation as the one he beat to the finish line was Belarus’ Ilya Palazkov who in the end had to settle for silver. Michal Gralewski of Poland, the day’s fastest swimmer with a blistering time of 1:59.41, was a worthy bronze medallist.
Germany’s Christian Zillenkens, the 2013 Youth World Champion, finished 4th whilst his teammate Marvin Dogue made up the top five.
There were wild celebrations when the team results were announced as Belarus were awarded gold with Russia in silver and Germany going home with bronze.
In the relay, rising star Dmitry Suslov and Viacheslav Bardyshev claimed the winner’s trophy for Russia, having shown great consistency throughout the day’s competition and recording the second fastest time in the combined. Zillekens and Dogue took silver for Germany whilst Gauthier Romani and Brice Loubet of France took bronze.