GOTEBORG, Sweden (AP) — Abeba Aregawi won the women's 1,500 meters by nearly half a lap at the European indoor championships Saturday, just three months after switching nationality to host country Sweden.
Aregawi, who was fifth in the distance at the London Olympics when competing for her native Ethiopia, finished in 4 minutes, 4.47 seconds, nearly 10 seconds ahead of a tight trailing group led by Isabel Macias of Spain. Katarzyna Broniatowska of Poland won bronze.
Aregawi smoothly pulled away from the pack halfway through the second lap and steadily widened her lead. None of the other runners appeared to even make an attempt at catching her. She credited the enthusiastic fans of her new country with helping her to the win, saying "the Swedish crowd supported me very well."
In a closely fought race, Hayle Ibrahimov of Azerbaijan won the men's 3,000 in 7:49.74, a half-second ahead of Spain's Juan Carlos Higuero. Ciaran Olionaird of Ireland took bronze, another 0.14 seconds behind.
"I am very happy to get the gold medal. It is the first for my country in the history of these championships," said Ibrahimov, who faced strong challenges from Higuero and Olionaird in the final laps.
Olionaird, who moved up from seventh place at the 2,400-meter mark, said "I really wanted to win but these guys are too good." Jimmy Vicaut of France was a nose ahead of Britain's James Dasaolu in the 60 meters, both recording 6.48 seconds. Michael Tumi of Italy was 0.04 seconds behind to win bronze.
"It feels all right to have won in such a short margin," Vicaut said. "Bravo to my competitors." Dasaolu was pleased to have finished as strongly as he did. "I've been so injury-prone over the last few years and this was my first winter in a long time when I've been healthy," he said.
Russia's Darya Klishina retained her long jump title, clearing just over 7 meters. Klishina was the only jumper in the finals to clear 7 meters and she did it by just a centimeter, on her first jump. "I am so happy and proud of the victory," she said.
Eloyse Lesueur bettered the French national record three times over six jumps and ended with silver, her longest distance at 6.90. Erica Jarder of Sweden surprised herself and the hometown crowd in Goteborg's Scandinavium arena by winning bronze with a final jump of 6.71, more than 15 centimeters longer than any of her previous five.
"My goal was hopefully to reach a final — everything in the final was a bonus," Jarder said. Holly Bleasdale of Britain took gold in women's pole vault, beating defending champion Anna Rogowska of Poland in a jump-off. Both missed three regular attempts at 4.72 meters and failed again at the same height in the tiebreaker. The bar was lowered to 4.67, which Rogowska missed but Bleasdale cleared.
Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia was third at 4.62. "I wanted it so badly and the jump-off was so tiring and really drained my energy so I'm happy I got the gold," Bleasdale said. Russian men took gold and silver in the high jump, with Sergey Mudrov clearing 2.35 and Aleksey Dmitrik taking 2.33. The Czech Republic's Jaroslav Baba jumped 2.31 to take bronze.
The men's triple jump gold went to Italy's Daniele Greco, who unleashed 17.70 meters on his fourth jump, more than half a meter better than his previous three tries. Russians Ruslan Samitov and Aleksey Fyodorov won silver and bronze.