Risto Lillemets finishes fifth in indoor European championships heptathlon

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Risto Lillemets at an indoor championship in Tallinn. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Estonian track athlete Risto Lillemets finished fifth in the heptathlon at the European Athletics Indoor Championships over the weekend with a score of 6,055 points. Estonian sprinter Karl Erik Nazarov reached the finals of the 60 m and came in seventh.

Lillemets did not set a new personal best in Torun over the weekend, finishing 34 points of his personal best mark of 6,089 points. His individual discipline results from the indoor championships are as follows: 7.04 (60 m) - 7.28 (long jump) - 14.50 (shot put) - 2.04 (high jump) - 8.09 (60 m hurdles) - 5.00 (pole vault) - 2:43.21 (1000 m).

"I think it was a proper competition. There are places where I could have taken more and I did not set any personals," Lillemets told Vikerraadio post-competition. "The first day was what it was. I finished, position and results were okay. There was nothing to complain about. A super competition, super emotion."

While the Estonian was not happy with his first day, the second day was much more to his liking. "I think I had a small restart. The first day just felt like training. You come here and have a long training session with the world's best. There was not much of a competitive atmosphere: no music, no crowd. It was hard to get yourself together," Lillemets said.

He held fourth place before the final discipline of 1000 m, but a terrific run by rival Rik Taam vaulted the Dutchman to fourth. "Rik's record was seven seconds faster than mine and the maximum gap could have been three seconds. I knew it was going to be difficult, but since he started with such pace, I realized there is no point. I could not catch up, would have run myself out so hard that [Andreas] Bachmann could have passed me as well," the Estonian noted.

Frenchman Kevin Mayer was crowned the best in Europe with a score of 6,392 points. Spanish athlete Jorge Urena finished second with 6,158 and Polish athlete Pawel Wiesiolek came in third with 6,133 points.

"There was nice pressure. It helped. The experience with call rooms and such is necessary for title competitions to come. It is different than regular competitions and has an effect on results. Managing those - I think I took that with me from this event. I will be smarter when it comes to that next time," Lillemets said of the experience.

Karl Erik Nazarov finishes seventh in 60 m finals

Estonian sprinter Karl Erik Nazarov set a new Estonian 60 m record in the semi-finals (6.62) at Torun, but could not improve on his time and finished seventh in the final.

In his first-ever major event, the 21-year old Estonian came in with a time of 6.67 seconds in the final, good enough for seventh. He left one man behind, Danish sprinter Kojo Musah. Nazarov's semi-final time of 6.62 would have been good enough for fourth in the final. 

The European champion is Italian sprinter Lamont Marcell Jacobs with a blazing time of 6.47 seconds. German Kevin Kranz finished second (6.60) and third was previous champ Slovakian Jan Volko (6.61).

Nazarov is the sprinter in the bottom of the screen in the attached video below, on lane eight.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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