Dutch 1-2 as Femke Bol records yet another sub-50 time at the distance

There could not have been many athletes who have had a better indoor season than Femke Bol.

Before the European Indoor Championships, she had already broken Jarmila Kratochvílova’s 41-year-old world 400m record – one of the longest standing marks in the history of the sport – with a stunning time of 49.26 and also became the fastest female in history over 500m indoors, clocking 1:05.63.

In the nine races she has competed in, ranging from the 200m to the 500m, Bol hasn’t lost a single one.

So there was an inevitability about her striking gold at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

The fact that she clocked 49.85 and went sub-50 again wasn’t a surprise as well. It’s the third time she’s done it this season.

Femke Bol celebrates her gold medal (Getty)

As soon as the gun sounded, Bol, from lane five leapt out of the blocks and looked immense, making up the stagger on Dutch teammate Lieke Klaver, before taking to the front and not looking back from 200m onwards.

Klaver finished second to Bol at the Dutch Indoor Championships. The fact that she clocked 50.34 in that race proved that a second-placed finish and silver medal in Istanbul was no fluke.

It’s a breakthrough moment for Klaver who claimed the first individual major medal of her career. An integral part of the Dutch relay team, she is a European indoor and outdoor 4x400m champion and Olympic and world silver medallist in the distance.

Bol’s tally of medals and records grows by the day. The fact she is still 23 is frightening.

“The race was nice, just like all races on championships like these,” she said. “It is very cool, especially that my teammates are also on the podium. It makes it even more special that I could defend my title, and become European Champion for the second time in a row.

“I have multiple European titles, but the world title is still missing. The world record is step one. Coming to Istanbul with a world record, I could feel that everybody wanted me to go even faster, and expected that I could ‘easily’ run a world record again.”

Klaver was overjoyed to share the podium with Bol and with the pair joining up to race for the Dutch 4x400m team tomorrow (March 5), they will be formidable opponents.

“Finally, I have an individual medal on a big championship,” Klaver added. “I felt I could do it today. I was more hopeful and confident than normal. If everything went according to how I wanted it, I knew I could achieve a silver medal today.

“The first part of the race, I had to run my own race. After that, I could follow Femke [Bol] and had to stay as close as possible. Before the race, we hadn’t discussed any plans. Of course, we could taste each other’s plans, but it is not something we discuss before the race.

“I think we have a big chance of winning gold in the relay tomorrow, but there is a difference between hoping and performing. In the relay, you never know what is going to happen. We go for gold.”

Poland’s Anna Kiełbasińska made up the podium and finished a fair way back in third with 51.25. Austrian Susanne Gogl-Walli was fourth but did clock a national record 51.73.

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