03 August 2023 | in Summer FISU World University Games
Laura Pellicoro (Italy) – Gold medallist women’s 800m
Tuesday, August 1st marked exactly one year until the start of the athletics competition of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The dream of every athlete is to one day compete under the aura of the five rings. It may seem a long way away, but it will be here in no time.
There are, however, many obstacles to overcome to make this dream a reality.
Joao Ricardo Agostinho Coelho (Portugal) – Gold medal winner and FISU record in men’s 400mThe Chengdu FISU World University Games can be one of those obstacles, but it is also a great stepping stone and platform to compete with the best student athletes on the planet.
Ten sets of medals were awarded on Thursday, the third of six days of action at the Shuangliu Sports Centre Stadium. And what a day it was.
European athletes came into Day 3 having won four out of a possible eight gold medals, and their domination continued.
There was no room for error in the men’s 400m final as two athletes broke the previous FISU Games record. The time for both was 44.79. In the end, it was Joao Ricardo Agostinho Coelho of Portugal who stood on top of the podium by a narrow margin of 0.003 over Australia’s Reece Holder.
“I can’t believe it,” Joao said after crossing the line first. “I wanted to win, but I didn’t expect the record. He [Holder] is an amazing person and competitor and so am I,” laughed the University of Lisbon student, showing his sportsmanship.
“I didn’t think the race would be that close,” said the runner-up. “But that’s racing and anything can happen.
“It’s good to have this kind of competition. He [Joao] is a good racer and what more could you ask for,” added the Australian.
The podium was completed by the Romanian Mihai-Sorin Dringo (45.27).
In the men’s 3000 steeplechase, it was a 1-2 finish for Germans Jens Christian Mergenthaler (8:38.42) and Nick Jager (8:40.53).Jens Christian Mergenthaler (left) and Nick Jager (right) (GER) Gold medal winners in men’s 3000m steeplechase
The bronze medal went to Shobu Atsushi of Japan (8:40.84).
“When we get home we will celebrate all night,” said the gold medallist, while his teammate sent a message back home. “Thank you for watching and supporting us!”
It did look like Europeans decided to take all the gold medals back to the FISU Games Village after Thursday’s competition.
“I didn’t ask them about that,” joked Jager.
“It was an instinct,” added Mergenthaler.
On a proud day for Italian women, two of them struck gold.
In the 400 hurdles, Alice Muraro won by almost a second (55.48) ahead of Brazil’s Marlene Silva dos Santos (56.45). Hungary’s Sara Mato (56.58) was the strongest in the fight for third place.
Her teammate, University of Portland student but Italian-born Laura Pellicoro, prevailed in an intense 800m final. It looked for a moment the Italian was not going to make it to the line first.
“I have no idea what happened on the finish,” she said after the final.
But she picked up the pace just in time to take gold in 2:04.20.
“I felt so good in the last 50 metres. I told myself I was mentally and physically able to do it.”
Just 0.13 behind was Knight Aciru (2:04.34) from Uganda, with South Africa’s Charne Eileen Swart (2:04.73) taking third place.
Other athletics champions crowned on Thursday included Ukraine’s Vladyslav Lavskyi (men’s high jump), China’s Su Wen (men’s triple jump), South Africa’s Marlie Viljoen (women’s 400m), Turkiye’s Eda Tugsuz (women’s javelin), Czech Republic’s Vilem Strasky (men’s decathlon) and France’s Benoit Campion (men’s 1500m).